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EU’s Juncker Calls for Proposals for ECB Succession

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker requested nominations this month for a replacement for Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell on the European Central Bank’s board, kicking off months of wrangling that will end with naming a successor to ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet.

Juncker, who leads the group of euro-area finance ministers, said he asked governments to submit by mid-January suggestions for the successor to Austria’s Tumpel-Gugerell, whose term on the Executive Board of the Frankfurt-based ECB ends on May 31. Trichet’s term expires at the end of October.

“All euro-area governments have been asked to submit by January their candidates” for the position, Juncker said in an interview in Luxembourg late yesterday. “But there won’t be any discussions at that point about the succession.”

ECB appointments are made by governments of the 17 countries using the euro, voting under a system that gives bigger countries more influence.

Juncker said he will shepherd the negotiations. “All that will happen” at the next meeting of euro-area officials on Jan. 17 “is that the names of potential candidates will be collected,” he said, adding that he hasn’t finalized the meeting’s agenda.

The decision of who will replace Tumpel-Gugerell may be part of a package deal between European governments. Political jockeying over Trichet’s succession started more than a year ago, when leaders chose Vitor Constancio of Portugal to be vice president of the central bank.

Trichet “will have to leave in November and so a decision about his replacement has to be taken in October, after getting the opinion of the European Parliament and the ECB,” Juncker said.

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