Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Monday, 6 June 2011 22:02 UK

MEPs back Christine Lagarde's candidacy as IMF head

An overwhelming majority of MEPs voiced support for French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde's candidacy as leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during a short debate on 6 June 2011.

In a statement, Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn told MEPs that the Commission would back her bid, citing her "strong knowledge" of the EU's economies and decision-making bodies.

She had "demonstrated global leadership" during France's presidency of the G20, he added.

The Commission's support for Ms Lagarde was reiterated by Swedish liberal MEP Olle Schmidt, who said that Europe needed to strengthen its representation within the IMF.

British conservative Kay Swinburne also backed Ms Lagarde, describing the French minister as "a hugely competent individual".

But UKIP leader Nigel Farage spoke out against Ms Lararde's candidacy, describing her as a "Eurofanatic" and a "highly unsuitable candidate".

Selection process

Some MEPs criticised the method by which the new managing director of the IMF will be chosen, with Belgian green MEP Philippe Lamberts describing the process as "half-baked".

Meanwhile German MEP Jürgen Klute from the far-left GUE group accused Europe and the United States of "carving up" important economic positions between them.

Mr Klute called for reform of the IMF leadership selection procedure, saying that developing countries should have a greater say in choosing a leader.

Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn tried to reassure MEPs about the selection process, saying it should be "open, transparent and merit-based".

The managing director of the IMF is appointed by its 24 executive directors for a term of five years.

The US, Japan, Germany, France and the UK are all guaranteed directorships. The other 19 executive posts are elected by the remaining 187 member countries.

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