• Germany's news in English

Bundesbank boss Weber stepping down

The Local · 11 Feb 2011, 17:15

Published: 11 Feb 2011 13:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Feb 2011 17:15 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"The chancellor and finance minister ... have taken note of this decision with respect for Professor Weber's personal reasons. A successor will be named in the coming weeks," a government statement said.

Such a move would be a "clear slap in the face of the German government," Carsten Brzeski, economist at ING Belgium, said earlier this week when the first rumours of Weber's exit emerged.

The 53-year-old Weber, seen as a hardliner on ECB policy and practice, was in pole position and apparently enjoying solid government backing in the race to succeed Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet in October up to now.

Trichet's successor would be only the third person to head the ECB, the world's most powerful central bank after the US Federal Reserve, setting interest rates for some 330 million people in 17 nations.

The first person to be in charge of monetary policy for most of Europe from the heights of a sky-scraper in Germany's financial centre Frankfurt was a Dutchman, the late Wim Duisenberg.

The head of the European Commission is Portuguese, the European Union's president a Belgian and its foreign policy chief is British - Jose Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton, respectively.

By not pushing for one its own in any of these positions, Europe's economic powerhouse was widely seen as having its eye on the ECB presidency instead.

"Over the last years, the German government was often left behind when international top jobs were filled," ING's Brzeski said.

"It always looked as if the entire focus was on securing the next ECB presidency, with Weber as the ideal candidate."

Weber getting the job would also have enabled Merkel to have Germany's interests be heard even more loudly and clearly just as the ECB scrambles to cope with a crisis that has shaken the eurozone to its very foundations.

Last year, Greece and Ireland were forced to go cap in hand for bailouts worth tens of billions of euros and investors fear that Belgium, Portugal and the much larger Spain and even Italy could be next.

The bailouts for Greece and Ireland forced Merkel to put astronomical amounts of German taxpayers' money on the table to guarantee debt sold by Athens and Dublin.

This has gone down badly with German voters and Merkel, who faces the first of seven state elections in 2011 on February 20, has set as its price fiscal austerity and much closer economic and fiscal cooperation in Europe.

But Weber has ruffled feathers in recent months with attacks on the ECB's contribution to fighting the crisis, the purchase of €76.5 billion worth of government bonds.

According to media reports, a lack of backing from Berlin gave him cold feet on going for the ECB job. He is now rumoured to be considering a quieter life in a lucrative job at Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest private bank.

Story continues below…

And with only around eight months until Trichet steps down, Berlin does not have an obvious candidate to parachute in as Weber's replacement.

The German most widely touted so far, Klaus Regling, who heads the eurozone's rescue fund, has no central bank experience.

"A strong hand and high profile candidate is required to successfully take the ECB forward and out of the exceptional current policy," LBG economist Kenneth Broux said.

"I think the market would not simply accept that an outsider gets the job."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

20:10 February 11, 2011 by auniquecorn
"clear slap in the face of the German government,"

Good move, I don´t think Weber wants to be another puppet controlled by the gov´t.
05:50 February 14, 2011 by cali style
It seems pretty obvious that he is going to replace Josef Ackermann and get a huge payday from Deutsche Bank...
Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd