Berlin, Paris refuse to speculate on Trichet ECB successor

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Germany and France each said Tuesday it was too soon and too risky to name a successor to Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet at the head of the European Central Bank.

A decision on who takes over from Trichet at the Frankfurt-based overseer of the euro is due over the coming months and speculation about his successor is becoming rife.

However, in Brussels for a monthly ministerial meeting, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said "we do not at present have the intention of engaging or participating in a debate over Trichet's succession."

"There is no need (to do so) ... and in any case, it is in our best interests that the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, is not weakened by such a debate," he added.

"We are still in the heart of the crisis," French European affairs minister Laurent Wauquiez told AFP on the sidelines of a European Parliament session in Strasbourg.

It is "too soon to start talking about successors," he said, adding that Europe "needs a Trichet mandate carried out with firmness and solidity right to the end."

According to German daily Bild Zeitung, German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Axel Weber, who heads the Bundesbank, to take over, despite reservations elsewhere, notably in France.

Head of the ECB for the past eight years, Trichet's mandate expires in November. Other candidates are thought to include Italy's Mario Draghi, already a member of the central bank's governing council, and its chief economist Juergen Stark.

© 2011 AFP

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