Candidate assessment: Peer Steinbrück would be an acceptable centre-left candidate for European elites by Peter Wahl

imfboss has invited candidate assessments from civil society voices in the home countries of the candidates to head the IMF. Throughout the process we will be posting these here for your benefit.

By Peter Wahl, World Economy Ecology and Development (WEED), Berlin, Germany

Peer Steinbrück was minister of finance under Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2005 until 2009 in the coalition of the Christian Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He has studied economics and sociology and made a typical party career in the SPD working as an assistant of several social democratic ministers, for instance in the ministries for construction, for environment and for technology. In 2005 he was running as candidate for the presidency in the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia, which by population is the biggest state in the German federation. But he was beaten with the worst result for his party since the end of the war.

Steinbrück belongs to the right wing of the SPD and represents a kind of “New Labour” policies. In the first years as finance minister he strongly supported further deregulation and liberalization of financial markets with the argument, that German competitiveness on global financial markets would have to be strengthened. However, before the Heiligendamm G8, he tried to advocate more transparency for hedge funds, but did not succeed and gave up, accepting the arguments of the UK and the US.

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Candidate assessment: Axel Weber lacks diplomatic skills and strategic thinking by Peter Wahl

imfboss has invited candidate assessments from civil society voices in the home countries of the candidates to head the IMF. Throughout the process we will be posting these here for your benefit.

By Peter Wahl, World Economy Ecology and Development (WEED), Berlin, Germany

Axel Weber was head of the German Central Bank, the Bundesbank, from 2004 until April 2011. He had been appointed by the Schröder government, which consisted at that time of the Social-Democratic Party and the Green Party. Before his assignment he was part of the so called “Five wise men” an influential advisory board of five German top economic institutes to the federal government.

Weber, a university professor of economics, represents the hard core monetarist school and the tradition of the Bundesbank from the times of the Deutschmark. This paradigm of the Bundesbank has been imposed to the euro-zone and the anchored in the statutes of the European Central Bank (ECB).

It was therefore no surprise, that Weber did not understand the system in which he was playing quite an important role. When the first German bank, the IKB, was collapsing in August 2007 as a result of the rising tide of the US-subprime crisis, he declared that “the exposure of German Banks in the American real estate market is limited. It is concentrated on investments with a high rating. Any comparison, made by some media reports, between the present economic situation and the banking crisis of 1931 are completely erroneous.

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Germany Vs Emerging markets and the UK

With DSK officially announcing his resignation today more voices are putting forward their views as to where his successor should come from.

In the European corner, joining Ireland and Belgium in the doghouse, is Germany. Today a German finance Ministry spokesman said “the ministry points to comments made by the chancellor before the resignation that the next (chief) should be European.” Axel Weber who recently stepped down as president of the Bundesbank is thought to be her preferred choice.

Pressed on the selection process many officials are taking a – it doesn’t have to be a European but…– stance. Take for example John Manuel Barruso, the European Commission president who said as much on CNN yesterday. Citing the current Euro-zone crisis and the fact that European nations are the biggest stakeholders in the Fund; he argues that the Europeans can make a valid claim on the post and furthermore, front a good candidate.

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Who’s in the dog-house in Europe?

European countries may feel it is their prerogative to name the IMF head, despite repeated promises not to do so. To keep on eye on them, we are going to maintain this handy chart that shows who in Europe is unreformed and still insisting on an outmoded and illegitimate selection process, and who realises that this is the 21st century. Drop us a line if you spot some national media which clarifies the position of those that are unknown.

In the dog house: Ireland and Belgium

In the limelight: United Kingdom

Continue reading “Who’s in the dog-house in Europe?”