16th Jun 2019

Leaders back Mario Draghi as next ECB president

  • Mario Draghi is head of Italy's central bank and the Financial Stability Board (Photo: European Parliament)

Italian central banker Mario Draghi has won the backing of EU leaders to become the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB) from the 1 November.

EU leaders made the decision at a European Summit in Brussels on Friday (24 June) at a time of unprecedented turmoil for the 17-member eurozone.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"We are all confident that Mr Draghi will exercise strong and independent leadership of the ECB, continuing the tradition started by the banks first two presidents," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told journalists after the meeting.

"This is essential in normal times and indispensable in difficult times," he added.

A potential hurdle to Draghi's smooth takeover from current ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet was removed earlier in the day, amid French concerns of a loss of influence on the bank's executive board.

With Trichet stepping down, France will be without a member on the six-person panel, while Italy will have two in the form of Draghi and Lorenzo Bini Smaghi.

An implied French threat to block Draghi's takeover was averted however when Smaghi signaled he would step down before the end of his full term expired.

"I spoke to Mr Smaghi this morning by phone and he did tell me personally that he would not see his mandate as a member of the governing board through to its end," said Van Rompuy.

"It's up to Mr Smaghi to decide what timetable he may have."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told journalists in Brussels on Friday that Smaghi intended to step down before the end of the year, after the two men also spoke by telephone.

Principally tasked with setting interest rates for the 17-member eurozone, the ECB has seen its role increase significantly during the financial and economic crises, including a controversial bond-buying exercise opposed at the time by former Bundesbank chief Axel Weber.

Widely tipped to take over from Trichet, Weber surprised the administration of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in February when he signaled his plans to leave the Bundesbank and disinterest in the ECB's top job.

The announcement opened the door for Draghi, with MEPs also throwing their support behind the Italian earlier this month.

EU top court backs Canada trade deal in ruling

The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that the EU-Canada free trade agreement, and its controversial dispute settlement mechanism, is in line with the bloc's rules.

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

The Japanese PM comes to Brussels to discuss the first results of the new EU-Japan free trade deal, plus WTO reform - a sensitive topic before he moves onto Washington to face Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU


Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us