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Europe

Row Over European Central Bank Top Spot

A row is developing between large and small EU states over who should be appointed to the powerful executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB).

A row is developing between large and small EU states over who should be appointed to the powerful executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB). One of the members of the six-member board, Eugenio Domingo Solans from Spain is due to step down at the end of May, and the appointment of his successor has become politically charged. Italy, Germany and France are backing another Spaniard for the job -- Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo -- even though candidates from Ireland and Belgium have been put forward and a treaty requires the post to rotate to another state. In backing Gonzalez-Paramo, the big countries are hoping to enshrine the principle that a big country should always have a seat on the board. The appointment is significant because member states with a representative on the executive board have two votes on how interest rates in the 12-country euro-zone develop. The president of the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet said in a press conference last week that the "professional qualifications" of the candidate would be the only criterion taken into account but political wrangling is expected to take over. Euro-zone finance ministers have decided to postpone the appointment until the he spring summit, which begins on March 25. (EUObserver.com)

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