Finance ministers set to pick ECB vice-president


European Union finance ministers are this weekend expected to pick Greek Central Bank Governor Mr Lucas Papademos as the next vice-president of the European Central Bank.

The ministers, convening tomorrow and Saturday for an informal meeting in Oviedo, northern Spain, will choose between Mr Papademos or Belgian economics professor Mr Paul De Grauwe to replace Mr Christian Noyer, filling the first vacancy on the ECB board since its birth four years ago.

The choice of Mr Noyer's successor is being closely watched because it will give a clue to how euro zone leaders intend to fill ECB board vacancies in the future.

Other eurozone nations also are understood to be angling for top ECB jobs, with one board seat coming open in each of the next four years. Mr Duisenberg will retire in July next year, but France has claimed the right to fill that post.