Germans Wanting ECB Chief Are Looking at It Wrongly, Coeure Says

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Germans who want one of their nationals to succeed Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank are wrong to consider the presidency in that way, according to one of the French contenders for the job.

Benoit Coeure responded to a question from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on whether he can grasp that many in Germany see it as their country’s turn, since no-one from the region’s biggest economy has ever run the institution.

“I understand that, but it’s the wrong way of looking at things,” said Coeure, who is the only candidate for the leadership currently on the ECB’s Executive Board. “The choice of ECB president should not be based on nationality, but on competence.”

Germans Wanting ECB Chief Are Looking at It Wrongly, Coeure Says

That emphasis on merit, also expressed by fellow contender Olli Rehn in March, is more hope than expectation. The succession will be determined by horsetrading between European Union nations and that already makes a northern European candidate likely to take over from Italy’s Draghi.

Coeure’s credentials include his unique experience helping to run the ECB. His own prospects depend on France deciding to push his candidacy instead of Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, and then a generous interpretation of EU law, which might currently appear to rule out existing board members. He said he can be “useful” at the ECB or elsewhere.

“If you ask me, I would also be happy to see a woman at the helm of the ECB,” he said. “It is not a position that you apply for. We must respectfully wait to see what the politicians decide.”

Germans Wanting ECB Chief Are Looking at It Wrongly, Coeure Says

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