FRANKFURT – Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, a relentless critic of the European Central Bank’s ultra easy monetary policy, will step down more than five years early, opening the door for Germany’s new government to pick a less confrontational successor.
Below is a list of potential candidates to take over at the German central bank when Weidmann leaves his role on Dec. 31.
Wieland is a long-serving member of the German Council of Economic Experts, which advises the German government.
He has often warned that an overly loose monetary policy could create financial bubbles, but defended the ECB’s bond-buying programme when Germany’s constitutional court heard a 2019 challenge to its stimulus programmes.
Wieland recently told Spiegel he expected the ECB to slow its asset purchases next year and raise interest rates in 2023, adding that the negative rate on deposits could be done away with earlier than previously thought.
Wieland teaches monetary economics at the University of Frankfurt.
Fratzscher is the most “dovish” candidate on the list, having backed the European Central Bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy and called for more fiscal spending in Germany.
A former European Central Bank economist, he teaches macroeconomics and finance at Berlin’s Humboldt University and runs the DIW Berlin think-tank.
JAKOB VON WEIZSÄCKER
Weizsäcker has been the chief economist of the German Ministry of Finance under Olaf Scholz, who is now the leading candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor.
He was a member of the European Parliament for Scholz’s Social Democrats between 2014 and 2019, sitting on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
A prominent member of an aristocratic family, he is a pro-European economist who is well regarded by the German centre-right.
Feld’s main field of research is economic and fiscal policy.
Seen as a representative of Germany’s economic orthodoxy, he has in the past called for higher interest rates to prevent a property bubble in his country.
But he has also defended the ECB’s asset purchases before Germany’s constitutional court and backed the euro zone central bank’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A former chair of the German Council of Economic Experts, Feld teaches economic policy and constitutional economics at the University of Freiburg. He has been chosen as the head of Vienna’s Institute for Advanced Studies.
Schnabel is a member of the European Central Bank’s Executive Board, which would make a switch to the Bundesbank unprecedented.
In her first two years as an ECB board member, Schnabel has broken the mould of German opposition to bond purchases and negative interest rates and has defended the ECB from critics in her native country.
She has recently struck a hawkish note by saying inflation might turn out to be higher than the ECB currently expects.
Röller has been Angela Merkel’s chief economic adviser for a decade, having replaced Weidmann as the German Chancellery’s director general for economic and financial policy in 2011.
As an academic his main focus was on innovation and competition and he has not publicly commented on monetary policy. He also served as chief competition economist at the European Commission in the 2000s.
Röller was questioned by German lawmakers earlier this year over his role in the Wirecard scandal.
Buch has been the Bundesbank’s vice-president since 2014 after a two-year stint on the German Council of Economic Experts.
The 55-year old former university professor accompanies Weidmann to meetings of the ECB’s Governing Council.
But she has largely steered clear of the monetary policy debate in public, focusing instead on issues relating to financial stability.
The Bundesbank’s chief economist has worked for the German central bank since 2005 after a five-year stint as the general secretary of the German Council of Economic Experts.
The 52-year-old economist is active on Twitter but has not expressed views about monetary policy in public, mainly explaining the ECB’s decisions and commenting on the economic outlook.
(Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Catherine Evans)