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No, the IMF Does Not Need Another European Head

Wolfgang Munchau is fast out of the gate:

The IMF needs another European head: This is not the most fashionable argument one could make so soon after the events in New York at the weekend. But let me say it flat out: I believe the case for a European successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn is overwhelming. To be clear: I am not supporting the principle that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund should, by default, be a European. On the contrary, I believe the job should always go the most capable candidate. I just believe that considering the IMF’s current priorities, one should not be so quick to rule out a European candidate at this point...

But he has no European candidate. He names only one name, Christine Lagarde--and with all due respect, certainly I would rather have either Armenio Fraga or Larry Summers.

Munchau continues:

The IMF’s most important programmes are currently European. The eurozone’s contagious financial crisis constitutes the biggest threat to global financial stability today.... What is perhaps not so much appreciated outside the eurozone has been the IMF’s political role in keeping the eurozone’s rescue strategy on track.... The eurozone clearly needed the IMF’s technical competences in dealing with its sovereign debt crises.... But the IMF’s single most important influence in eurozone crisis resolution has been political. In a situation marked by a lack of political leadership, the IMF filled a vacuum.

So I wonder to what extent a highly competent Mexican central banker, for example, would be able to fulfil this role? The various candidates mentioned as potential successors to Mr Strauss-Kahn are technically skilled, but in assessing their relative merits, we should take into account that the new IMF chief will deal with mostly European issues for most of his or her first term at the top level.... A PhD in economics and an extensive experience in dealing with financial instability may be desirable qualities. But at a time like this, they are not sufficient. The game has changed.

The Europeans have monopolised this position. That must stop, and it will stop. But now, and probably for the first time, we may actually need a European managing director.... There are plenty of excellent candidates, including Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister...

Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

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