Report: Erkki Liikanen tipped to be next Euro Bank boss

The European Central Bank top job is one of the most senior to be decided during 2019 - and it comes down to who Germany & France think should get it.

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File picture of Erkki Liikanen / Credit: Suomenpankki

The Financial Times newspaper is reporting that former President of the Bank of Finland Erkki Liikanen is the leading candidate – but not the only candidate – to be chosen as the head of the European Central Bank later in 2019.

The current bank boss is due to leave in October after eight years in office, and the FT surveyed 24 leading economists to find out who they thought was the favourite, and also most likely to get the job.

Eight of those economists said the Finn was their favourite for the job, and three also said he was the most likely person to get the job.

Meanwhile another candidate, Frenchman Benoît Cœuré, was picked by seven of the 24 economists as their favourite for the job, but only one said he was the most likely person to get it.

One of those economists surveyed by the Financial Times said that Liikanen “combines his central bank experience with impressive political experience at home as minister of finance and in the European Commission, where he had two mandates as commissioner”.

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European politics come into play 

The choice of the next ECB head also depends a lot on European politics. It’s one of the most senior positions in Europe to be decided in 2019 but there are different factors at play.

If German Manfred Weber becomes the next European Commission President – he was chosen as the lead candidate of the centre right parties in November at a Helsinki conference – then it increases the chance a Frenchman like Benoît Cœuré would get the European Central Bank job.

However, if the next ‘President of Europe’ is not from Germany, it increases the chances that a northern European like Liikanen could land the role.

Another Finn was also mentioned in the mix for the European Central Bank top job. Former EU Commissioner and ex-government minister Olli Rehn was picked by five economists as their favourite candidate.