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Eurozone

EU leaders push through Mersch for ECB top post

EU leaders have appointed Luxembourg's central bank chief Yves Mersch to the European Central Bank (ECB) executive board. The decision defies a vote by European parliamentarians who wanted a woman for the job.

At their summit in Brussels, European Union government leaders overrode a vote by the EU parliament last month which had refused to support the nomination of Yves Mersch.

The EU lawmakers had objected to the appointment because they thought a woman should join the all-male executive of the European Central Bank. However, the EU legislature doesn't have a binding say in filling top jobs in the EU bureaucracy.

"The European Council today adopted a decision appointing Yves Mersch to the executive board of the ECB for a term of eight years as from December 15," the leaders said in a tersely-worded statement issued after they had made the decision Thursday night.

Before the vote, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, told the government leaders that parliament would expect them to observe gender equality when key EU position were going to be filled in future.

Mersch is considered a monetary policy hawk, leaning toward a restrictive ECB policy as promoted by German ECB executive member Jens Weidmann. Therefore, the Luxembourg banker enjoyed the backing of German chancellor Angela Merkel in the nomination process.

However, Mersch has softened his hardline stance in recent weeks when he came out in favor of an ECB bond-buying program, which he described as a "bulwark against destabilizing scenarios" in the eurozone debt crisis.

uhe/msh (dpa, AP)

DW.DE