Merkel Said to Recommend Lautenschlaeger for ECB Post

Germany nominated Bundesbank Vice President Sabine Lautenschlaeger to fill the seat on the European Central Bank’s executive board that will be vacated by Joerg Asmussen.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet unanimously recommended putting forward Lautenschlaeger, 49, as the nation’s candidate, according to a German government official who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly. A Bundesbank spokeswoman declined to comment.

Lautenschlaeger is currently responsible for the German central bank’s supervision of lenders, an area of expertise that would benefit the ECB as it prepares to assume oversight over euro-area financial institutions. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that her appointment would be a “good thought” given her experience.

The decision on who gets the post will be made by a council of euro-area finance ministers under a voting system that gives larger countries more weight. The European Parliament also questions candidates and holds a non-binding vote on their appointment. Germany has always been represented on the ECB’s six-member board.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs euro finance meetings, hasn’t yet given a timetable for a decision. ECB President Mario Draghi said yesterday that Asmussen’s replacement should be appointed as soon as possible.

“It’s a time when we can’t really afford operating without” an executive board member, he told European lawmakers in Brussels. “We need a very quick reaction by the council and the European Parliament.”

Asmussen, 47, said on Dec. 15 that he would leave the ECB, two years into an eight-year term, to become deputy labor minister in the new German government. The Social Democrats, to which he belongs, took the ministry as junior partners in the coalition. Asmussen said his decision was of “a purely private nature.”

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