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Financial Times: Estonian Ardo Hansson front runner for ECB presidency

Ardo Hansson.
Ardo Hansson. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

As the German government's interest is shifting from the European Central Bank towards appointing a German the next president of the European Commission, Ardo Hansson has good chances to follow on Mario Draghi as the head of the ECB, as he is both an outsider and because of his attitude to monetary policy might be backed by the German government, the Financial Times writes.

President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann was long seen as the most likely successor of president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, who is due to step down in 2019. But to get there, Weidmann would need the backing of the German government, and Chancellor Angela Merkel's priorities have recently shifted, the Financial Times writes.

This means that Draghi's successor is more likely to be found among the other hopefuls, and that group includes the chairman of the Bank of Estonia, Ardo Hansson.

Although Weidmann would be the first German ever to head the ECB, Merkel seems to have shifted her aim to the EU's highest executive position: there are signs she would prefer a German as the next president of the EU Commission.

The appointment of German candidates as the next Commission president as well as the next head of the ECB is extremely unlikely, so it will have to be one of the two. That Weidmann's chances of following Draghi aren't currently the best is a relief to the Southern European governments, who have long been worried by Germany's opposition to the stimulus measures of Draghi's ECB.

All this means that Weidmann's competitors are now getting a lot more attention. Combine this with the fact that the German government is more likely to back a candidate that shares its understanding of economic and monetary policy, Hansson is a serious contender.

According to the Financial Times, the candidates with the best chances to be appointed are currently French economist Benoît Cœuré, Chairman of the Bank of Estonia Ardo Hansson, Governor of De Nederlandsche Bank Klaas Knot, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Philip Lane, former Governor of the Bank of Finland Erkki Liikanen, current Governor of the Bank of Finland Olli Rehn and Governor of the Bank of France François Villeroy de Galhau.

The paper sees Hansson leading the field as both a candidate out of the EU's newer members and an attractive choice for the German government. Hansson agrees with much of the German understanding of how the European economy should be supported by the ECB.


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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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