Next ECB head may not be French says Italy's Tanzi

ITALY - Wim Duisenberg's successor as president of the European Central Bank may not necessarily be French. That is the belief of Italy's Treasury undersecretary Vito Tanzi who spoke to Italian daily La Repubblica on Saturday.
ITALY - Wim Duisenberg's successor as president of the European Central Bank may not necessarily be French. That is the belief of Italy's Treasury undersecretary Vito Tanzi who spoke to Italian daily La Repubblica on Saturday.

"If European ministers stopped considering Trichet as a candidate, it is clear that they could choose a new one, even Italian, for the ECB presidency. Italy has very skilled professionals, with high international visibility," Tanzi is quoted as saying in the newspaper.

He did however concede that at the moment, Bank of France governor Jean-Claude Trichet is still the "only candidate" to Duisenberg's succession.

The latest reports suggest Trichet's trial is set to begin in January 2003 and conclude sometime in February. The start date is earlier than expected and may provide Trichet with time to take the ECB's top job. Some talk suggests that even if Trichet is found guilty he could receive a pardon from the French government.

Tanzi commented that "If he (Trichet) continued to have problems, then other candidates could emerge....in that case, also Italian candidates could be considered."

He also added that "there is always a possibility that some sort of discussion about this has already taken place among the (economics) ministers.

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