Europe demands that next IMF chief comes from EU

Last Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 00:05

Brussels: Europe`s top officials closed
ranks on Thursday to demand that the IMF`s next leader be one of
their own, someone with enough technical expertise and
political savvy to handle the continent`s relentless debt
crisis.

Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been widely
praised for his leadership of the Intentional Monetary Fund
and its involvement in solving Europe`s woes, resigned
yesterday to devote "all his energy" to fighting sexual
assault charges in New York.

The move heated up simmering debate over his
successor, with Europe aggressively staking its traditional
claim to the post even as fast-growing nations like China and
Brazil say it`s time to break that monopoly and seek an IMF
chief from a developing nation. The Washington, DC-based
organisation is empowered to direct billions of dollars to
stabilise the global economy.

Hours after Strauss-Kahn`s resignation, everyone from
the European Commission to the German chancellor to the French
finance minister herself a potential candidate said the
replacement should come from Europe. Not because of any
tradition, they insisted, but because intimate knowledge of
Europe`s debt crisis should be a critical element of any
candidate`s portfolio.

"From a European point of view, it is essential that
the appointment will be merit-based, where competence and
economic and political experience play the key role," said
Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Monetary and Economic
Affairs.

"And in this current juncture it is a merit if the
person has quite solid knowledge of the European economy and
decision making."

There is no indication yet when a decision will be
made. But a meeting of the G-8 a group of eight developed
countries takes place next week in the seaside resort of
Deauville, France, and all the major decision-makers will be
there.

France`s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has in
recent days been touted in many European capitals as a good
choice. A sharp, articulate negotiator, she has a strong
international reputation and impeccable English after living
in the United States for many years.

PTI



First Published: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 00:05

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