Sarkozy says EU can propose high calibre IMF candidate
The EU is in a position to propose a high calibre candidate to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the head of the International Monetary Fund, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday.
However Sarkozy in his statement did not mention any potential candidate, although his Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been widely mentioned as a leading contender to become Europe's candidate to lead the world's lender of last resort.
Strauss-Kahn resigned late on Wednesday after being arrested in New York over the weekend on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid. He has protested his innocence.
The EU has staked a claim to retain the leadership of the IMF to help tackle its debt crisis, although developing nations have said the time has come for an end to the tradition of Europe heading the organisation.
"The European Union, whose member states are together the top contributor to the Fund, is in a position to propose a high calibre candidate, Europe should be united in its choice," said Sarkozy.
Lagarde picked up on Thursday the public support of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who said she would be an "excellent choice" to replace Strauss-Kahn.
Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said he was "very impressed" with Lagarde whom he said had been a "a driving force" in Europe's battle against the debt crisis.
© 2011 AFP