May 12, 2011

Draghi Is in Poll Position

A former Goldman Sachs banker and the current Governor of the Banca d’Italia, Mario Draghi is now in pole position in the race for the European Central Bank’s presidency. In fact, besides having been already endorsed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, he has been given an official blessing by German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “I know Mario Draghi,” she told Die Zeit newspaper, “he is a very interesting and experienced individual … Germany could support a candidacy from him for the office of the ECB president ... He stands very close to our agenda of stability and solid economics.”

However, three weeks ago Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble was reported by The Wall Street Journal to have said that he was “open to Mr. Draghi for the post of ECB President.” And a few days later the German newspaper Bild defined him as the “most German of all remaining candidates.”Furthermore, back on February 13th, Wolfgang Münchau, associate editor of the Financial Times, endorsed Draghi as the best candidate for the job, and a few days later The Economist wrote that “the next president of the world’s second-most-important central bank should be Mario Draghi.”

Barclays Capital managing director Julian Callow told AFP that Merkel’s backing was indeed “the last box to check.” Draghi, he said, “has the intellect, the experience, the leadership, the judgement, the communication skills that (would) collectively make him an exceptional president of the ECB.”

Of course, we Europeans, all of us (especially here in Italy), hope all the above are right, even though all of them proved themselves anything but infallible—and we experienced this at first hand. Eurozone leaders are expected to agree in June as to who will follow Jean-Claude Trichet’s eight-year term.