The European Commission presidency – not the European Central Bank – tops Chancellor Angela Merkel’s agenda.
According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Merkel is focusing on securing the European Commission presidency for a German candidate rather than backing Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann to succeed Mario Draghi at the helm of the European Central Bank. His term at the ECB expires in October 2019.
“The EU Commission rather than the ECB is the top priority for Merkel,” the business daily quoted a high-ranking government official as saying. It said the chancellery and the Bundesbank did not want to comment.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, such a move could prove significant because it would appear to reduce the prospect of Weidmann, the ECB’s most hawkish policymaker, taking over leadership of the ECB just as it is likely to start exiting its ultra-accommodative policy stance.
At the same time, securing the Commission presidency would be a shift given Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has not held one of the top jobs since Walter Hallstein was president of the Commission of the European Economic Community, forerunner to the European Commission, from 1958 to 1967.