Nicolas Sarkozy

Ralph Atkins

Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, who strongly believes the ECB should be acting far more aggressively in combating the eurozone crisis, lobbied hard to have a compatriot on the European Central Bank’s executive board. Last month, a place finally became vacant when Lorenzo Bini Smaghi announced his departure for Harvard University.

Mr Sarkozy’s nominee to replace him, Benoît Coeuré, deputy director general and chief economist at the French treasury, has now outlined his views in written evidence submitted to the European Parliament.

Anyone hoping he would create a revolution at the ECB may be disappointed. On the main points of ECB policy, there appears little that would upset Frankfurt. Read more

Ralph Atkins

Fittingly, at the end of a career spent managing global economic crises, Jean-Claude Trichet’s farewell party took a dramatic turn in Frankfurt late on Wednesday.

Trichet and Draghi at the Alte Oper. Image by Getty.

Trichet and Draghi at the Alte Oper. Image by Getty.

As Europe’s statesmen - including Germany’s Helmut Schmidt and France’s Valéry Giscard d’Estaing - paid tribute to the departing European Central Bank president in the city’s Alte Oper, Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris suddenly announced his intention to gatecrash the festivities. Despite his wife just giving birth, the French president jumped on a plane to Frankfurt.

As the farewell ceremony drew to a close, Mr Trichet – along with Angela Merkel, German chancellor and Mario Draghi, the new ECB president – headed for two hours of emergency talks on the latest eurozone rescue plan in a backroom in the grandiose 19th century opera house. Read more