EU agrees to support Strauss-Kahn for IMF head

10th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, July 10, 2007 (AFP) - European Union finance ministers agreed Tuesday to back French candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn as new head of the International Monetary Fund, the EU's Portuguese presidency said.

BRUSSELS, July 10, 2007 (AFP) - European Union finance ministers agreed Tuesday to back French candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn as new head of the International Monetary Fund, the EU's Portuguese presidency said.

"Ecofin agrees to support Dominique Strauss-Kahn for IMF director," the presidency said, using EU shorthand for the meeting of finance ministers in Brussels Tuesday.

In a surprise announcement late last month, current IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato said that he would step down in October.

Under a controversial but long-standing convention, Europe chooses the head of the IMF and the United States picks the president of the World Bank, the IMF's sister institution.

Over a working breakfast, the finance ministers gave Strauss-Kahn "wide support," an EU diplomat said, adding that Poland had withdrawn the late-announced candidacy of its former prime minister Marek Belka.

But the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity, that the EU remains "ready to discuss" the possibility of a non-European taking up the job.

Rightwing French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been lobbying hard to secure the IMF's top seat for Strauss-Kahn, a heavyweight in France's Socialist Party who is in favour of reforming the economy.

But three Frenchmen have held the job for more than 30 of the IMF's 61 years, and the French also currently run the World Trade Organisation, the European Central Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

New British finance minister Alistair Darling has argued that the fittest candidate -- irrespective of his or her origins -- should succeed Rato, and he again called for a revision to the way a successor is chosen.

"I think there needs to be a proper process," he told reporters.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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