France puts forth treasury official for ECB post

24th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

France on Thursday put forward a senior treasury official for a seat on the European Central Bank's executive board left vacant by the resignation of Lorenzo Bini Smaghi of Italy.

Days after fellow Italian Mario Draghi took over the top job at the ECB at the beginning of the month, Bini Smaghi resigned following pressure to give up his seat to a French colleague.

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin put forward Benoit Coeure, the number two official at the French treasury and the ministry's chief economist to take up the ECB seat.

Also a former head of the country's debt management agency, Coeure, 42, "has the needed experience and authority in the monetary and banking" fields for the job, said the French finance ministry.

When Draghi was appointed to take over as ECB chief to replace Jean-Claude Trichet of France in June, European officials widely speculated that Bini Smaghi would resign in exchange for the top job at the Bank of Italy.

But Bini Smaghi was passed over for the top job and the situation left two members from Italy on the ECB board and France empty-handed, and France put pressure on him to step down.

France had supported Draghi's candidature for the ECB post but on condition that a French official would take Bini Smaghi's place following the unwritten rule that no country should hold two seats on the board at the same time.

Bini Smaghi announced on November 10 he was resigning to take up a post at Harvard University.

© 2011 AFP

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