France Kicks Off Jockeying for EU Jobs Carve-Up Praising Draghi
(Bloomberg) -- France began jockeying for positions at the European Central Bank and the European Commission, saying the replacement for Mario Draghi will be crucial in pushing President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of Europe.
Speaking at the European Affairs Commission at the National Assembly, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the ECB president’s actions were decisive in helping the euro-area economy and showed the “major role” its holder plays.
“Draghi made the right choices and he had the courage at a certain moment to say we need a more accommodative monetary policy,” he said. “The economic situation of the euro zone wouldn’t be the same if somebody else, with less courage and less lucidity” had been in the post.
Draghi’s term ends in late 2019 and the appointment of his successor will be part of government horse-trading over several top European Union positions, focusing on nationality and gender as well as expertise. The Italian’s tenure was defined by unprecedented stimulus and his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro.
French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau is among the front runners to succeed Draghi, though the country already held the job from 2003-2012. Fellow Frenchman Benoit Coeure, who has been in charge of the ECB’s market operations since 2012, is also considered a possible contender. Still, there’s the legal obstacle as he’s already a member of the ECB Executive Board, with a non-renewable eight-year term.
Le Maire also acknowledged Jean-Claude Juncker’s work as European Commission president, saying that “on innovation and investment, he was able to take courageous decisions.”
“I’m convinced that the French president will be determined that his choices weigh as much as possible to defend our idea of a European continent that asserts itself as a sovereign power between China and the U.S.,” he said “Let’s be honest, not all states share this vision, not all governments share this vision. Even within the EU, there is a battle over what the EU should be in the next 10, 15 or 20 years.”
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