We can add another name to the list of possible replacements for Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell: Slovakia says it is proposing a former vice-governor of its own central bank, Elena Kohutikova. Ms Tumpel-Gugerell – currently the only woman on the ECB’s 23-strong governing council – will step down at the end of May.  Ralph has suggested her replacement is likely to be a woman.

Ms Kohutikova is currently board member of Vseobecna Uverova Banka, the Slovak unit of Italy’s Intesa SanPaolo, Reuters reports. She was in charge of monetary policy issues, financial markets operations, risk management during her stay at the NBS. Euro zone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday, when they are expected to discuss possible replacements for Ms Tumpel-Gugerell. Read more

Slovakia’s refusal to back the Greek loan for Greece set a bad example, and the ECB should not support euro entry to applicants that may behave similarly, Reuters is reporting. (NB. We are unable to confirm these quotations, and the ECB, when asked, had no comment to make.)

BRATISLAVA/BRUSSELS, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Slovakia set a bad example by refusing support for a loan to Greece, and the European Central Bank will not support euro entry by others unless sure they will not take similar steps in the future, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet was quoted as saying.

A memo from this week’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers, seen by Reuters, said Trichet was outraged at the refusal by Slovakia to participate in the Greek bailout.

Several EU officials said privately Slovakia could be snubbed by some of the 26 other EU member states because its decision is likely to complicate talks on the bloc’s budget, making the rich net payers less willing to grant aid to poorer countries.

“Trichet was outraged at the last Eurogroup by Slovakia’s refusal of a bilateral loan to Greece and said that had the ECB known Slovakia would behave like that, it would not have endorsed Slovakia’s euro adoption,” the memo summarising the discussion said.

 Read more

Ralph Atkins

Europe’s new system of financial supervision maybe taking shape, but there are still gaping holes – and it is distinctly possible that policymakers will stumble into them. That was the, rather sobering, message of Athanasios Orphanides, Cyprus’s central bank governor, in a speech just delivered in Bratislava.

It is worth paying attention to what he had to say. Mr Orphanides, who learnt the ropes of central banking at the US Federal Reserve, is one of the smarter economists on the European Central Bank’s 22-strong governing council. That gives him greater status than perhaps a central banker from a Mediterranean island would usually command.

The European Union is close to an agreement on setting up new pan-European regulatory authorities and a “systemic risk” council headed by the ECB’s president. But Mr Orphanides suggested the emphasis had been put on preventive measures – and not enough on how to clear up the mess when financial institutions run into trouble. Read more