Tribute to 'Mr Euro' as ex-ECB chief dies

1st August 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2005, AMSTERDAM — There were warm tributes on Monday to "Mister Euro" Wim Duisenberg who died unexpectedly on Sunday.

1 August 2005

AMSTERDAM — There were warm tributes on Monday to "Mister Euro" Wim Duisenberg who died unexpectedly on Sunday.

The 70-year-old Dutchman drowned in the swimming pool at his home in Faucon in the south of France. Justice official Jean-Francois Sanpieri said an autopsy had confirmed  Duisenberg had "died a natural death, due to drowning, after a cardiac problem".

Born in the Dutch town of Heerenveen in 1935, Duisenberg went on to join the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and served as finance minister and head of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB).

With support from Germany but opposition from France, Duisenberg was appointed the first head of the European Central Bank (ECB) in 1998.

He presided over the successful introduction of the European common currency, the euro, in 1999, earning himself the nickname "Mister Euro".

Instantly recognisable for his professor-like looks — a stooped figure and a bush of white hair — Duisenberg kept to a rigid cautious monetary policy and refused to listen to pleas by investors to lower interest rates.

Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet, who succeeded Duisenberg as the ECB's president in 2003, said his death was a "terrible loss."

"He played a decisive role in setting up the monetary institutions in Europe," Trichet said in a statement.

Nout Wellink, who succeeded Duisenberg as president of the Dutch central bank, said: "We have lost a great man. Wim Duisenberg meant much for the Netherlands and Europe."

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the Netherlands had lost a "distinctive personality with a great international reputation".

"In his calm way, he helped create and strengthen the crucial foundation of trust among the population in the euro," German Finance Minister Hans Eichel told Bloomberg News in an e-mailed statement.

"This made a decisive contribution to the successful establishment of European Economic and Monetary Union."

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, European news

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