Mario Draghi named next 
ECB president

BRUSSELS - European Union leaders appointed Italy’s Mario Draghi as the next president of the European Central Bank on Friday — a move that gives investors much-needed certainty over who will lead the institution in its pivotal role in the fight against the crippling debt crisis.

By Gabriele Steinhauser (AP)

Published: Sat 25 Jun 2011, 11:14 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:52 AM

The head of Italy’s central bank, Draghi is expected to adopt his predecessor’s tough stand on inflation when he takes over the helm of the ECB on November 1, a day after the term of President Jean-Claude Trichet expires.

“Mr. Draghi will exercise a strong and independent leadership of the ECB,” said EU President Herman Van Rompuy. “This is essential in normal times, and indispensable in difficult times.”

The timing of Draghi’s appointment had come under doubt as fellow Italian executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi had until Friday refused to leave his post.

With Bini Smaghi staying on the executive board, France would not have a representative on the six-person board once Trichet departs on October 31. The French had previously implied they would only support Draghi if a French man or woman takes Bini Smaghi’s spot.

On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Bini Smaghi had informed him and EU President Van Rompuy that he would step down by the end of the year. He did not say what French candidate would take Bini Smaghi’s spot.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, rejected the claim that pressure applied on Bini Smaghi to resign his post by the Italian government had endangered the independence of the ECB.

“I believe that the independence of the European Central Bank, as regards its ability to perform its tasks, has been preserved entirely,” she told reporters.

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