Weidmann Is a Suitable Candidate to Succeed Draghi, Juncker Says

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Jens Weidmann is a suitable candidate to succeed European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Bundesbank president is “a convinced European and an experienced central banker,” Juncker told the German newspaper Handelsblatt’s Friday edition. “I like Jens Weidmann.”

Juncker stopped short of endorsing the German for the ECB job, and in any case won’t have a role in deciding on the matter. European Union leaders will select a successor to Draghi after the European Parliament elections, in a process of political bargaining that will also determine a new commission president.

Still, the remarks by Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg and a longtime head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, stand out at a time when the prospect of a German candidate for the ECB has sparked aversion elsewhere. That’s because of Weidmann’s role, popular in his home country, in opposing key policies pushed by Draghi.

“It certainly wouldn’t be a problem for me if a German became president of the ECB or the EU Commission,” Juncker said. “I don’t share the opinion heard in some parts of southern Europe that a German shouldn’t be allowed to become ECB president.”

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