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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 15:43 GMT
Wolfowitz to meet EU commissioner
US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
Mr Wolfowitz is seeking to reassure critics
Paul Wolfowitz is to meet the European commissioner for development as he tries to calm unease about his nomination for World Bank president.

Mr Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war, is to meet Louis Michel to present his views on the Bank's role, the European Commission said.

EU finance ministers will discuss the nomination at a summit this week but are unlikely to reach a formal view.

Aid agencies and development experts have criticised the nomination.

"I am looking forward to meeting Mr Wolfowitz in Brussels to listen to his ideas on development, the main challenges ahead and his vision for the World Bank," said Mr Michel.

No date, however, has been set for the meeting.

Mr Wolfowitz's visit could potentially take place after the World Bank's board meets to pick a successor to outgoing president James Wolfensohn, who will step down on 31 May.

European input

The World Bank is charged with promoting economic development and reducing poverty.

Mr Wolfowitz, the current US Deputy Defence Secretary, has insisted he is not looking to shift the Bank's agenda to a more political agenda.

US appointments to the World Bank presidency are usually unchallenged, as are European nominations to lead the International Monetary Fund.

But the views of the European Union are considered important as its representatives sit on the 24-seat board of the World Bank.

On Monday, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder indicated Germany would back Mr Wolfowitz, saying he thought people may be "positively surprised".

Diplomats say that European ministers are unlikely to raise formal opposition to the nomination of Mr Wolfowitz at a time when they are seeking to promote more conciliatory relations with the Bush administration.

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