Germany reported to back Lane and Donnery for ECB posts

Central Bank chiefs get Berlin’s backing for top euro-zone positions

Sharon Donnery, a deputy governor of the Central Bank, reportedly has Germany’s backing to become the next head of the ECB’s banking supervision arm. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Sharon Donnery, a deputy governor of the Central Bank, reportedly has Germany’s backing to become the next head of the ECB’s banking supervision arm. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The German government is supporting the Republic in securing two top positions at the European Central Bank (ECB), which would go against convention of smaller euro-zone countries having only one senior role at the institution at one time, German publication Wirtschaftswoche reported on Thursday.

The financial news magazine cited unnamed European Union sources as saying that chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration has signalled its backing for Sharon Donnery, a deputy governor of the Central Bank, to become the next head of the ECB’s banking supervision arm, and for her boss, Philip Lane, to become the ECB’s next chief economist.

Berlin had come out early last month in support of Ms Donnery’s candidacy to chair the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) in order to frustrate the ambitions of Italian Andrea Enria to secure the role, the report said.

The Republic is alone among the founding members of the euro not to have held a top executive position at the ECB so far, and the possibility of winning two senior roles at the same time has been widely viewed as a remote possibility.

Deadline

Individual candidates could put themselves forward for the position of chair of the SSM ahead of a deadline last month, whereas governments nominate candidates for ECB executive board roles.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is known to be planning to put Mr Lane’s name in the ring to succeed the ECB’s current chief economist, Peter Praet, when he steps down next year.

Wirtschaftwoche said Germany’s support for two top Irish positions at the ECB is designed not to annoy the Irish Government.

Mr Praet’s successor on the executive board would not automatically become chief economist.

Mr Donohoe pulled Mr Lane from a two-horse race earlier this year for another ECB executive seat, as it became increasingly clear that Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos had the necessary political banking.

Still, members of the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee said Mr Lane’s technical expertise on monetary policy shone through as both men were grilled by them in February.