23rd Sep 2019

Eurogroup chair backs Italian banker for ECB job

  • Juncker. The decision on who will head the ECB will be made in June (Photo: Council of European Union)

Ex-Goldman Sachs advisor Mario Draghi is one step closer to winning the presidency of the European Central Bank, with Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourgish prime minister and chair of the Eurogroup of states, giving his endorsement on Thursday.

"I don't see any notable differences between what the president of the republic [Sarkozy] said and what I think," Juncker told journalists after a meeting with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

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If he nabs the job, 63-year-old Draghi will be the third man to hold the position as chief of the bank, the Frankfurt-based institution that administers the eurozone's monetary policy. He would replace Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet, whose eight-year term expires this year.

Juncker's approval comes on the heals of France's signal of support on Tuesday, when President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would be "very happy" were Draghi to head the bank.

He went on to hint that Germany's backing in in the offing as well.

"We will probably be able to make sure that France and Germany won't distance themselves from each other," he added.

All eyes are on Berlin now after Spain's finance minister gave a qualified backing to the appointment of Draghi, the governor of the Bank of Italy, on Wednesday.

"[He] seems to us to be an excellent candidate, but the time period for presenting candidates is not open yet," Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado said.

A Portuguese government spokeswoman also expressed her government's support on Wednesday and Slovakia's finance minister on Thursday gave his assent.

Germany for its part appears not to be rushed.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told Reuters "a decision will first be made in June" on the matter.

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