By Jussi Rosendahl
HELSINKI, May 18 (Reuters) - Former top EU economic official Olli Rehn was appointed governor of the Bank of Finland on Friday and said he was looking to have a meaningful impact on the European Central Bank’s rate-setting governing council on which he will have a seat.
Rehn, 56, was favourite for the job. He spent a decade at the European Commission and was economic and monetary affairs commissioner during the euro zone debt crisis.
In that role he took part in ECB’s meetings and developed a reputation for advocating strict fiscal discipline and structural reforms for troubled European states.
“At the (ECB council) table, the Bank of Finland’s governor can have a good impact on decisions with rational arguments and good team play,” he told a news conference.
He said he would comment on monetary policy in more detail once his seven-year term starts on July 12 and added that he would attend the council’s meeting in July.
Earlier this week, however, he sounded a cautious note on the euro area’s economic outlook, saying it faced “downside risks” due to uncertainty relating to the public finances and banks of some member countries.
Rehn succeeds Erkki Liikanen who has to step down after two terms.
No major policy changes are expected: Finland is seen as a moderately hawkish euro member that largely backs ECB President Mario Draghi, analysts say.
Rehn beat nine other applicants for the job, including ECB supervisory board member Pentti Hakkarainen, thanks to his view of economic and monetary policy and experience in international policymaking, said a council of lawmakers that proposed him for the job last month.
Rehn, who belongs to Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party, also spent a short stint as Finland’s economy minister, helping the government to clinch a historic labour reform deal with trade unions. (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)