September 19, 2020

Merkel Clears Way for Draghi to Lead E.C.B.

Mr. Draghi, the governor of the Bank of Italy and an American-trained economist, is well regarded by economists and foreign leaders, and his appointment should reassure them that the E.C.B. will continue to have a strong leader at a time when the euro is in crisis.

Ms. Merkel told the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, in an interview published Wednesday, that Mr. Draghi embodies German ideas about economic stability and that the government could support his candidacy. Ms. Merkel’s office confirmed that the report was accurate.

“He is very much in line with our ideas about stability and economic solidity,” Ms. Merkel said.

European heads of state are likely to formalize Mr. Draghi’s nomination at a meeting on June 24. He will replace Jean-Claude Trichet, whose term expires at the end of October.

Though top-ranking German officials have said privately that they admired Mr. Draghi, Ms. Merkel had avoided making a public statement of support for him. She may have feared that an Italian at the helm of the bank would not be acceptable to the German public.

But after other leaders like French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in recent weeks that they support Mr. Draghi, the pressure was on Ms. Merkel to take a stand.

Mr. Draghi is regarded as slightly less hard-line on inflation than Axel Weber, the former president of the German Bundesbank, who had been the front runner as next E.C.B. president until he unexpectedly withdrew earlier this year.

But Mr. Draghi, 63, who earned a doctorate in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is certain to maintain the E.C.B.’s relentless focus on price stability. He also enjoys an international reputation, in part because of his work as chairman of a panel that has been asked by the Group of 20 nations to find ways to avoid future financial crises.

Like Mr. Trichet, Mr. Draghi has the gravitas, stature and political savvy needed to interact on equal terms with European leaders. The crisis caused by debt problems in Greece, Portugal and Ireland has put extreme pressure on E.C.B. policy makers, who have often taken the lead in managing the crisis because of the difficulty that European Union leaders have in agreeing on fast action.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d9408cde9a11bf5a03807a5c07a42954

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