Eurogroup: A German president?
19 March 2012
Süddeutsche Zeitung, Financial Times Deutschland, Financial Times Deutschland
Will the German Finance Minister be the next Eurogroup president? That is the question that has Germany abuzz since the Financial Times Deutschland revealed on Friday that the German Chancellor is backing her minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, to replace Jean-Claude Juncker in the post. Süddeutsche Zeitung, on Monday, expresses its surprise –
A German finance minister is not the born candidate to preside the Eurogroup. Arithmetic and the balance of power in Europe are against it. In normal times, it would simply be excluded that a representative of the country that is already the strongest member – and which wants, in addition, to impose its national culture of austerity throughout Europe – also be responsible for monetary issues.
In the absence of other candidates, Italy's Mario Monti and the Finn Jyrki Katainen are out of the running because their compatriots already occupy key EU positions (Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank and Olli Rehn, the EU Commissioner for Financial and Economic affairs), Schäuble at least has the required stature, the Munich daily says. Junker, whose mandate ends in June 2012, has already said that he will not stand again. Schäuble, himself, said the next president must come from a country rated triple A by the rating agencies, thus limiting the choice to Germany, Finland or the Netherlands. In the meantime, he will have to wait until June for backing from France – after the presidential and legislative elections.