Momentum Builds for Italy's Draghi as Europe's Next Central Banker (4/28)     Print Email

Selection of Mario Draghi as the next president of the European Central Bank became closer, if not assured, with the signal this week that French President Nicolas Sarkozy supported the Italian for the key post. Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet, who has held the ECB job for eight years, steps down in October.  European Affairs tipped Draghi for the job back in February after Germany’s front-runner Axel Weber withdrew from consideration. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Draghi has emerged as the “consensus” candidate for the job.

Draghi, 63, currently Governor of the Italian Central Bank and a member of the ECB’s governing council, won another important endorsement late this week as Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Eurozone single-currency area, added his name to a growing list of leaders who have come out in Draghi's support. (On Wednesday, Spain and Portugal, through spokespeople, voiced their backing for him.) Juncker, who is also Luxembourg's prime minister, went on to say that he doesn't foresee France and Germany clashing on the question of who will succeed Trichet.

Draghi's appointment still needs the formal imprimatur from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has indicated she will not make a final decision until the EU summit in late June. German politicians and public opinion want reassurances that Trichet’s successor will continue to pursue strongly anti-inflationary monetary policies and respect Germany’s concern about the ECB’s role in “bail-outs” and other financial support for weaker EU economies such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

-- By European Affairs