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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 14:20 GMT
New ECB chief 'must be French'
Bank of France governor Jean-Claude Trichet
Jean-Claude Trichet: preferred successor?
The German government has said it is up to France to choose the successor to Wim Duisenberg as president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's chief spokesman said the new ECB chief "must be French."

The current ECB president Wim Duisenberg announced on Thursday he was to step down next year.

The French government has argued in the past that it reached an agreement when Mr Duisenberg was appointed that he would make way after four years for the French central bank governor Jean-Claude Trichet.

When Mr Duisenberg announced he was to go it immediately led to speculation that Mr Trichet would be the next president.

But it is not yet clear whether Mr Trichet, who is currently under investigation over his role in scandals at French bank Credit Lyonnais, is still the preferred successor.

Accord

Chancellor Schroeder's spokesman Uwe-Karsten Heye said a deal had been struck at the start of the ECB in 1998.

"The president still has over a year in office. But I have to point out there is an accord from 1998 that Duisenberg's successor must be French," he told a press conference.

"It is the job of the French government to name a candidate," he added.

But he refused to be drawn on Mr Trichet saying he "could not say anything as France does not have an official candidate."

If Mr Trichet is not chosen, some analysts have suggested that Christian Noyer - the only French member of the ECB's executive board - could be another candidate.

See also:

07 Feb 02 | Business
Duisenberg to quit ECB
07 Feb 02 | Business
Eurozone interest rates unchanged
07 Feb 02 | Business
Wim Duisenberg's legacy
03 Jan 02 | Business
The euro's next challenges
06 Dec 01 | Business
ECB holds rates steady
21 Oct 01 | Business
Soros lashes out at ECB
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