German Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked France whether it would be willing to put forward International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde as president of the European Commission, two French sources briefed on the exchanges said.
They said Merkel, Europe’s most powerful political leader, made the inquiry in a private conversation with French President Francois Hollande after European Parliament elections characterized by widespread anti-EU protest votes.
“Merkel raised it privately with Hollande, who did not take a final position but said he did not think it would be a good idea for Europe to lose the IMF post,” one source said.
In Berlin, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the Reuters report was wrong. Merkel had reaffirmed on Monday her support for former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who led the center-right European People’s Party slate in the parliamentary elections, he said. The center-right topped the poll but fell well short of an overall majority.
Emerging nations have said they want to break a long-standing arrangement under which a European gets the top IMF job and an American heads the World Bank.
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