BERLIN (MNI) – The German government said Monday that the
nationality of the next president of the European Central Bank 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 the
successor for Mr Trichet shares our principle views on a stable
currency…and the fight against inflation,” spokesman Steffen Seibert
said at a regular press conference here.

“It is not first and foremost a question of which passport” the
candidate holds, he added. Still, Seibert also would not rule that a
German could still become the next ECB president.

German weekly Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that the
government has given up its plan of moving a German to the top of the
ECB. “Weber was our only candidate, that’s it now,” the paper cited a
German government member.

German Bundesbank president Axel Weber had declared on Friday he
would step down in April of this year, one year earlier than the
scheduled end to his term, and would no longer be a candidate for the
ECB top job when incumbent Jean-Claude Trichet retires this autumn.

Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle was quoted on Monday by German
daily Bild Zeitung as saying that the nationality of the next ECB
president “doesn’t play a decisive role.”

Rather, it is crucial that he assure stable prices, Bruederle told
Bild. “It is above all decisive that the candidate for the job of the
ECB head has the correct inner convictions: he must be convinced that
inflation doesn’t solve any problems and that we absolutely need stable
prices to get growth,” the minister stressed.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had already said on Friday that
“Germany has never declared that it insists on a German candidate.”

Weber told Der Spiegel that he had given up his candidacy for the
ECB presidency because he was isolated on the ECB Governing Council in
his opposition to the central bank’s program of purchasing government

Seibert was asked at today’s press conference if the government
shared Weber’s opposition to the ECB’s bond purchasing program.

“The assessment of Mr Weber about the performance of the ECB in the
financial crisis is his own,” the spokesman said. Chancellor [Angela
Merkel] believes that overall the ECB played a responsible and very
helpful role in this financial crisis.”.

–Berlin bureau: +49-30-22 62 05 80; email:

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