Merkel Leaves Open Whether Germany Still Wants ECB's Presidency

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel left open whether she’d rather have a German as head of the European Central Bank or the European Commission.

The question came up at a news conference during the German leader’s visit to Georgia on Thursday after reports suggested Germany won’t push for Jens Weidmann as ECB president.

Merkel framed her reply in the context of whom the European People’s Party, which her Christian Democratic Union belongs to, will nominate as its candidate to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as commission president. That post and the ECB presidency are up for grabs in the fall of 2019, after elections to the European Parliament next May.

“The discussion about upcoming personnel decisions in connection with the European Parliament election is slowly starting now,” Merkel said Thursday. “No decision of any kind has been taken yet.”

The European People’s Party, which groups what it calls center-right parties from across Europe, starts accepting nominations for European Commission president on Sept. 6 and plans to choose its candidate on Nov. 8, according to the EPP’s website. The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, is appointed by the EU parliament.

Possible contenders include Manfred Weber, a German who heads the EPP group in the European Parliament. Weber is a member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.