Constancio, 66, is seen as bringing a dovish tilt to the ECB's core Executive Board, but his nomination is likely to boost Axel Weber's bid to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as president next year. Weber, who is president of the German Bundesbank, is seen as an inflation hardliner.
"The Council's recommendation will be submitted to the European Council, after consulting the European Parliament and the ECB's governing council," the Council of the European Union said in a statement.
The Council's decision confirmed what a source with insight into the ministers' meeting had told Reuters on Monday. Current ECB Vice President Lucas Papademos' term expires on May 31.
Luxembourg central bank Governor Yves Mersch and Belgian central bank board member Peter Praet were the other candidates for the number two job at the ECB, which sets monetary policy for the 16-country euro zone.
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