Weber says he ducked ECB job due to lack of European support

Bundesbank president Axel Weber says he decided not to run for leadership of the European Central Bank (ECB) because he did not enjoy the support of enough European governments.

Weber says he ducked ECB job due to lack of European support
Photo: DPA

The 53-year-old Weber, seen as a hardliner on ECB policy and practice, was apparently enjoying solid odds in the race to succeed Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet in October until now.

But he told Der Spiegel on Saturday that he had given notice to the German government back in the autumn that he had several professional options.

A meeting between him and Chancellor Angela Merkel in January meeting had only resulted in an agreement that they would talk about his potential candidature again in March.

“My decision has matured since January,” he said, adding it had been important for him that he was free to make his own decision about his future.

He said he had taken clear positions over the last 12 months that had been harshly criticised by some European governments.

“The positions may not have always been beneficial to the acceptance of my person by some governments,” he said.

Weber openly criticised the decision of the ECB council to buy government bonds on the secondary market.

As he came to the decision not to stand for the ECB job, he told his colleagues at the Bundesbank, and said he was disappointed that this had been leaked to the public.

He said once he had finished at the Bundesbank on April 30 – a year earlier than his contract stipulated – he would take some time off.

“I do not want to take on any kind of job before next year,” he said.

And as to rumours that he might take on the top position at Deutsche Bank, he said, “As long as I am in office, I do not discuss my professional future. Not with anyone.”

A successor for Weber should be named next week, with a strong candidate said to be Merkel’s economy advisor Jens Weidmann.


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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.