EU to approve Wolfowitz nomination

The European Commission has said it is satisfied with commitments made by US nominee Paul Wolfowitz in talks held with him in Brussels.

    Wolfowitz (R) pledged to form a multinational senior team

    European Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Wednesday that he "was satisfied with everything he heard from Mr Wolfowitz concerning free trade and also on poverty reduction and development policy".
    EU states were expected to back his nomination and German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul - who also attended the talks - said afterwards: "I expect that he will get the European and German support."

    The World Bank board is due to choose a successor to veteran president James Wolfensohn on Thursday in Washington.

    No promises

    Wolfowitz said on Wednesday he planned to build a "multinational" senior management team if confirmed as World Bank president, but declined to make any promises after talks with European finance chiefs. 

    EU was initially cool to Wolfowitz
    due to his war hawk reputation

    His comments came after the EU's Luxembourg presidency confirmed it wants a senior post at the Bank to serve under Wolfowitz, whose controversial nomination has been received coolly in some quarters in Europe.
    "It's very important ... that the senior management of the bank reflect the fact that its a multilateral institution," he said when asked whether he would appoint a European as vice president.
    "It needs to reflect the fact that the European countries as a group are the largest single donors to the Bank," Wolfowitz told a press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who currently holds the EU's presidency.

    Great talent

    Wolfowitz continued: "But it also needs to reflect the full diversity of donors and recipients. and I intend to look for the best talent from all around the world, and look foward to have a truly multinational senior staff ... "

    "There's great talent here in Europe. There's some impressive people in the developing world, and I'm going to need all the help I can get," he said.

    "I expect that he will get the European and German support"

    Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul,
    German Development Minister

    There has been widespread criticism of Wolfowitz's nomination, who is currently US deputy secretary for defence, for being one of the main people behind the war in Iraq.

    At an EU summit last week, European leaders signalled that they were resigned to the nomination of Wolfowitz by Washington to head the Bank, which concentrates on long-term development projects and support for developing countries.
    Juncker said the Europeans wanted the meeting with Wolfowitz "to make sure the Millennium Development goals are the basis on which the incoming president of World Bank organises his work".
    Europe's choice

    The UN's Millennium Development goals, set in September 2000, are aimed at slashing global poverty in half by 2015, stepping up the fight against diseases such as Aids and tuberculosis, and increasing access to education.

    Europe chooses IMF's chief and
    the US selects World Bank head

    The Europeans want to get a candidate of their own at the World Bank to act as Wolfowitz's deputy, diplomats said on Tuesday.

    The French have put forward two names: Jean-Pierre Jouyet, head of the Paris Club of creditor nations, and Jean-Pierre Landau, who has written a report for French President Jacques Chirac about the feasability of an international tax to finance development.
    Paris also wants another deputy to Wolfowitz from a developing country. The current number two at the bank is Shengman Zhang of China.
    Traditionally, Europe chooses the managing director of the IMF and the US appoints the head of the World Bank. The informal rule has never been broken since the two institutions were set up in the wake of World War II.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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