Merkel, Weber to talk amid ECB post speculation

11th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bundesbank head Axel Weber are to hold talks at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) Friday, amid speculation he no longer wants to become European Central Bank chief, sources said.

Weber had said on Thursday that he would not comment publicly on whether he was still in the running to succeed Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet when his term expires in October until he had spoken to the German chancellor.

"I promised her that I would not make any comment on the matter until we've both met and talked again. We will take all the necessary decisions in close consultation," Weber had said in Vienna.

Several newspapers have said that Weber decided to drop out of the race because of a lack of clear support from the German government.

Weber has ruffled feathers with repeated criticisms of the ECB's programme of buying up government debt to help head off a debt default by stricken members of the 17-nation eurozone.

Weber, 53, was seen as one of the front runners for the ECB chief job, with Germany having been expected to formally endorse his candidacy later this year.

Reports said that he was eyeing a lucrative job at Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest private bank. Both the Bundesbank and Deutsche Bank have declined to comment.

It was unclear if Merkel and Weber would meet face to face or talk on the phone Friday.

© 2011 AFP

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