BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel is focusing on securing the European Commission presidency for a German candidate, rather than backing Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann to succeed Mario Draghi at the helm of the European Central Bank (ECB), Handelsblatt reported.
"The EU Commission rather than the ECB is the top priority for Merkel," the business daily quoted a high-ranking government official as saying. The Bundesbank declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
The news comes as a clutch of top EU jobs are due to change hands by the end of next year: the presidents of the ECB, the European Commission and European Council all need to be replaced by the end of 2019.
Weidmann recently told Merkel he would be ready to be its candidate if the German government proposed him for the ECB top job, Handelsblatt said.
However, the government believed it would be more promising to back a candidate for the EU Commission post than to try to secure the ECB role for Weidmann, a monetary hawk whose hardline stance makes him unpopular in much of southern Europe.
Handelsblatt cited German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, Manfred Weber, the centre-right leader in the European Parliament, and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as possible candidates for the EU Commission job.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel and Frank Siebelt; Editing by Andrea Shalal and David Holmes)
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Updated Date: Aug 23, 2018 00:07 AM