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Europe

EU Supports German to Head Reconstruction Bank

European finance ministers have expressed their overwhelming support for Germany's Deputy Finance Minister Thomas Mirow to take the top position at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in July.

A pharmaceutical company in Bulgaria that received a loan from the EBRD

The EBRD has typically supported modernization projects in former Soviet states

"There is overwhelming support for the German candidate, Mr. Thomas Mirow," Slovenia's Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday, March 4, following a meeting with his European counterparts. Slovenia currently holds the EU presidency.

Bajuk added that Mirow would be presented as Europe's candidate for the positiona at the EBRD's annual meeting in May

Mirow, 55, would replace the current bank chief Jean Lemierre, who announced last month that he would step down in July after eight years in the position.

"The bank still has a crucial role to play, for instance in the western Balkans, the Caucasus and central Asia, whose stability and prosperity are crucial to Europe," Mirow said in an interview in the Monday edition of the Financial Times.

Bank shifts focus as EU expands

Thomas Mirow

Mirow is currently in charge of preparing the G7 and G20 meetings

The EBRD, which represents 61 national governments as well as the European Community and the European Investment Bank, was founded in 1991 in London to help former Soviet bloc countries transition into market economies. Many of those states are now prospering members of the European Union.

Under Lemierre, the EBRD shifted its focus from Central Europe to Southeastern Europe and Russia, where economies are still unstable and many people live in poverty.

Mirow, who serves as a chief advisor to German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, beat out Czech, Hungarian and Greek candidates to win the EU's support for the post.

The EBRD has been headed by either French or German chiefs since its founding, including former German President Horst Koehler. With an 8.52-percent equity share, Germany is one of the bank's largest members.

The final vote on Lemierre's successor will take place at the bank's annual meeting in Kiev on May 18-19.

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