UK decides to move into the dog-house, rejects a merit-based decision

Despite starting off this mad week well, with a plan to “concentrat[e] on is who is the best person for the job”, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has decided that he doesn’t even want to know who is going to be nominated before he backs French finance minster Christine Lagarde for the top post that the IMF. According to news reports today, he proclaimed: “On the basis of merit, I believe Christine is the outstanding candidate for the IMF – and that’s why Britain will back her.” Osborne, from the Conservative party, in his statement seemed to favour Lagarde’s penchant for fiscal austerity.

For history buffs, in 2007 when Strauss-Kahn was running for the job, the UK, then run by Gordon Brown as prime minister, was the only European country to hold out on picking a candidate until after nominations closed. Nominations closed on August 31, 2007; and the UK agreed to support Strauss-Kahn only on September 5, 2007. That principled stand by the Labour government, looked like heralding a break with the past tradition of stitching up a decision behind closed doors in Brussels. Alas, it seems George Osborne could only stick to his principles for about 4 days.

This puts the UK firmly in the dog-house with most other major European countries.

In the dog house: UK, Germany, Barroso, Italy, Austria, Spain, Ireland and Belgium

In the limelight: no one right now

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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.

Continue reading “Germany Vs Emerging markets and the UK”