The European Parliament has backed the choice of Christine Lagarde, the former Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB).
In a secret ballot, 394 EU lawmakers voted in favour, 206 against and 49 abstained. Lagarde’s appointment is due to be formally confirmed by EU leaders at their next summit, on Oct. 17, Oct. 18. Lagarde was nominated in July to succeed ECB chief Mario Draghi, as part of a package of top EU appointments. She would be the first woman to take on the job.
The ECB’s core task is maintaining price stability across the eurozone. To this end, it seeks to keep inflation at just under 2 per cent. It had been hovering significantly below that for several months. Socialist group leader, Iratxe Garcia, welcomed Lagarde’s pledge to prioritise green and sustainable growth, but warned that, “we will be on her heels to make sure monetary policy is used to improve people’s lives.“
According to the Head of the liberal Renew Europe group, Dacian Ciolos, Christine Lagarde faces a challenge to unite the ECB and provide coherent policies in an increasingly turbulent global economy. “But I have no doubt that she is the right person for this job,“ he said. Green EU lawmaker, Sven Giegold, commended Lagarde as experienced and assertive, adding, “we will pay attention that Lagarde follows up her green words with green actions.“ However, while parliament’s approval was not a legal requirement, its support was considered politically important. Many EU lawmakers had long insisted on more female representation at the helm of the ECB.(dpa/NAN)