–Adds Media Report On ECB Board Member Stark To Story Sent 12:47 GMT
BERLIN (MNI) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday
defended her decision to make her 42-year old top economic advisor, Jens
Weidmann, the next president of the Bundesbank.
The opposition parties had warned that sending a member of
government directly to the top of the Bundesbank could impair the
independence of the central bank.
Merkel reminded that Weidmann had already worked for the Bundesbank
before joining the government. “If there is anybody with this background
who is committed to preserving the independence of the Bundesbank and
the ECB, then it is Weidmann,” she argued.
“Weidmann will speak out in the ECB for a culture of stability,”
the chancellor predicted.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, speaking at the same press
conference, reaffirmed that the succession of ECB President Jean-Claude
Trichet will be decided only once a comprehensive package to solve the
current debt crisis in the Eurozone had been agreed amongst member
Incumbent Bundesbank president Axel Weber had declared last week he
would step down in April of this year, one year earlier than the
scheduled end of his term, and would no longer be a candidate for the
ECB top job when Trichet retires this autumn.
German weekly Die Welt reported Wednesday that the government had
given up its plan to move a German to the top of the ECB. ECB Executive
Board member Juergen Stark, a German national, is not available to run
for the job, the paper wrote citing government sources.
A government spokesman said earlier this week that the nationality
of the next ECB president is not so important, but that the candidate
should share Germany’s views on monetary policy.
“For the federal government, it always was and is key that Mr.
Trichet’s successor shares our views on a stable currency…and the
fight against inflation,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said. “It is not
first and foremost a question of which passport” the candidate holds, he
–Berlin bureau: +49-30-22 62 05 80; email: email@example.com