There’s a lot of ‘ammunition’ against Weidmann for top ECB role, says political analyst

  • Europe will have to choose a new ECB chief in the first half of 2019.
  • Analysts argue that Germany will fight to get the top role at the ECB as it needs to restore credibility among its voters.
  • Recent remarks by Bruno Le Maire, the economy minister of France, showed that the name to replace Draghi is far from being decided.
German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.
Ints Kalnins | Reuters
German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.

The outspoken German central bank governor is unlikely to become the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB), a political analyst told CNBC Thursday.

There is widespread opposition across the euro zone against Jens Weidmann, the current head of the German Bundesbank, as the debate grows over who's going to replace ECB President Mario Draghi next year.

Europe will have to choose a new ECB chief in the first half of 2019 and following the appointment of a southern European national, Luis de Guindos, for vice president, many analysts believe that the next president will be from the north of Europe, potentially Germany.

Analysts argue that Germany will fight to get the top role at the ECB as it needs to restore credibility among its voters and they believe its own central bank governor, Jens Weidmann, will land the job.

"There's a lot to play for here. Weidmann is a very good man but I think there's a lot of ammunition being built up against him," David Marsh, chairman of the London-based think tank OMFIF (Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum), told CNBC Thursday.

Recent remarks by Bruno Le Maire, the economy minister of France, showed that the name to replace Draghi is far from being decided. The minister said earlier this month that just because France decided to back the Spanish economy minister de Guindos as ECB vice president, it doesn't prejudge other choices France will make for other major European posts.

"I think in the end (Weidmann) won't get the job. It could even be another Frenchman actually," Marsh told CNBC, adding that this will be a "big issue" for Germany and France — the two largest euro economies.

On top of the decision for ECB chief, there will be an array of discussions to elect officials for many other European positions that will become vacant over the next two years. For instance, Europe will have to choose a new European Commission president in the spring of 2019, as well as a new European Council president, along with other roles inside the ECB.

It is expected that European countries will be competing to get their national representatives in the various institutions.

In February, Erik Nielsen, global head of CIB research at UniCredit, told CNBC that "Weidmann's vocal opposition to most of the ECB decisions in recent years has generated too much opposition in too many other member states for him to get the nod."

He added that the fact that the heads of the European Stability Mechanism, the Single Resolution Board and the European Investment Bank are all from Germany could also impact his chances of being selected.