Netherlands 'thinking about' proposing ECB candidate

20th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said Sunday the government was considering putting forward its central bank governor, Nout Wellink, as a candidate to lead the European Central Bank.

"Without confirming anything, we are thinking about it," the minister told a public radio programme, asked about Wellink as a possible replacement for incumbent Jean-Claude Trichet of France.

"The preferred German candidate has fallen out of the race, so it appears that the playing field is open again," De Jager said.

"If this leads to new insights, we will talk as cabinet."

De Jager noted that Wellink's possible candidacy could be complicated by the fact that the ECB's first head was a Dutchman, Wim Duisenberg, but added that Duisenberg "never finished his term".

Berlin has refused to rule out putting a German forward for the ECB post but has few credible candidates after its central bank governor Axel Weber resigned.

Wellink told the Wall Street Journal Europe in February that he was "looking at future developments with great interest," but was not "campaigning" for the position.

Wellink's conservative views go down well in Berlin, but German Thomas Mirow, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said last month that Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi is a "very good candidate".

Trichet is to step down in October.

© 2011 AFP

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