BERLIN (Reuters) - Former German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said on Sunday he was not interested in being a candidate to lead the European Central Bank because he shares the same views as outgoing Bundesbank president Axel Weber.
Steinbrueck’s name was proposed by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, parliamentary leader of the opposition Social Democrats. Steinbrueck is also a leading figure in the SPD.
Weber confirmed on Saturday he would not be a candidate to head the ECB, blaming resistance in some European countries to his hardline monetarist stance.
“I’m not available for this job,” Steinbrueck was quoted as telling the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an advance copy of an article due to appear on Monday. He said he believes it is wrong when a former finance minister switches to a body like the ECB.
Steinbrueck, who was finance minister until 2009, added that he also had many of the same views as Weber.
“Thus I’d automatically have a minority position,” Steinbrueck said.
Weber, in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, said he feared the credibility of the ECB presidency would have suffered if as president he held a minority view on key questions, pointing to his “clear position” on important decisions.
“These positions might not have always been helpful for my acceptance in some governments,” Weber said, referring to his criticism in May of the ECB’s decision to buy bonds as part of a concerted push to try to resolve the euro zone’s debt crisis.
The German government announced on Friday that Weber would step down as head of the Bundesbank a year before his term ends, formally ending his chances of becoming the next ECB president.
Weber’s withdrawal was a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s drive to secure the ECB post for a German.
Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Greg Mahlich
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