Italy's Draghi a good ECB candidate: German bank head
Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi is a "very good candidate" to head the European Central Bank, German financial figure Thomas Mirow said Wednesday as speculation over the post intensified.
"Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi is in any case a very good candidate," Mirow, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
"He has been a credible supporter of stability-oriented policies for years," Mirow added in what seemed like a solid endorsement of the Italian's inflation fighting credentials, which are highly valued in Germany.
A former managing director at Goldman Sachs, Draghi "has a strong grasp of regulations and oversight and also brings private banking sector experience, which is very useful," the EBRD director said.
He added there would likely be no German candidate for the post after central bank governor Axel Weber dramatically resigned.
Berlin has refused to rule out putting a German forward for the ECB post but now has few credible candidates.
Dutch central bank chief Nout Wellink told the Wall Street Journal Europe Wednesday that he was "looking at future developments with great interest," but added that he was not "campaigning" for the position.
Wellink's conservative views go down well in Berlin, but the first ECB president, Wim Duisenberg, also came from the Netherlands, which would appear to diminish Wellink's odds.
Draghi's chances of succeeding Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet to become the third head of the ECB got a boost when Weber bowed out of the race, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel might find it hard to give the Italian her crucial support.
Italy is one of the heavily-indebted eurozone countries many Germans cite when they complain that less disciplined partners want Germany and a couple of others to do the heavy lifting.
There are no official candidates for the ECB post yet, but Rome has actively pushed Draghi, already a member of the ECB governing council, and a decision by EU heads of state will be made in the coming months.
Trichet is to step down in October.
The Italian central banker has multiplied overtures to the German public, touting Europe's top economy as a model in interviews with German media and stressing the need to protect the credibility of ECB monetary policy.
On Monday he underscored in Milan the importance of eurozone price stability as inflation in the 17-nation bloc continued to overshoot the central bank's target of just below 2.0 percent.
© 2011 AFP