Jörg Asmussen

Ralph Atkins

Just what the eurozone did not need right now: another possible German-Franco row, this time over jobs at the European Central Bank. In Brussels late on Tuesday, Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, pressed for his deputy Jörg Asmussen to take over the ECB’s economics department from Jürgen Stark when he joins the ECB’s six-man executive board at the start of 2012.

The problem is that France’s Benoit Coeuré, an academic economist as well as French civil servant, who will arrive at the ECB at the same time as Mr Asmussen, is arguably much better suited for the economics portfolio.  Read more

Ralph Atkins

Jürgen Stark, who on Friday said he would quit the European Central Bank’s executive  board, is widely-described as the bank’s “chief economist”. This is misleading.

There is no such position at the ECB. It was the title awarded informally by the media to his predecessor, Otmar Issing, who had responsibility for both the research and economics divisions at the ECB – in others words, much of its intellectual firepower. When Mr Stark took over in 2006, the roles were split. Read more