Daily Archives: January 23, 2007

There is a new odd couple at the centre of the EU – Gabriel and Glos. You often have to pinch yourself to recall that Sigmar Gabriel and Michael Glos are members of the same government – Germany.

Gabriel is the up-and-coming environment minister from the centre-left Social Democratic party. Glos is the Christian Social – for which read Christian Democrat – economics minister from Bavaria,  a conservative heartland and one of the richest areas of Europe. He wants it to stay that way. So he has no time for eco-warriors wanting to dent its way of life. The two are strange bedfellows in a grand coalition government and Tuesday once again proved why.

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Has the president of the European Central Bank finally given ground in the long-running "battle of the Jean-Claudes"? After months of refusing to discuss holding more meetings with Jean-Claude Juncker, the political head of the eurozone, ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet, now seems ready to talk.

Mr Trichet famously refused to reply to a letter from Mr Juncker last year, after the Luxembourg prime minister suggested they should have regular informal chats – possibly over breakfast. The ECB president reckoned his public acceptance of this invitation to coffee and croissants could be seen as giving in to political pressure.

But earlier this month the two did get together for an informal 45-minute chinwag in Frankfurt, along with Joaquin Almunia, the EU monetary affairs commissioner. More such encounters could follow. So has Mr Trichet sold part of the bank’s independence, as some of the sobre suited boys at Germany’s Bundesbank seem to believe?

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