who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Biting comments from German and French ministers. The tone is slightly different but the direction of the comments from the German and French ministers is the same: Wolfowitz is harming the Bank's credibility and should go. Other Europeans are also clarifying their positions.

Reuters quotes German development minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul saying "For me the most important thing is that the moral authority and the financial stability of the World Bank must not be harmed". She does not spell out that this means Wolfowitz must go, but says diplomatically that "He himself has to decide whether he still has the credibility to represent the position of the World Bank".

Yesterday French Finance Minister Thierry Breton said the World Bank is "an institution whose governance and ethics must obviously be impeccable. I fully trust the governing board to draw the consequences it must draw and I have no further comment."

Colleagues in DC say that the Nordic governments are clearly against Wolfowitz now and the Brits, too (though with some questions over whether the Blair-Bush 'special relationship' might trump everyone else's views in the end). The Italians are perhaps still in the mood for some compromise or other, while other European governments are playing cards close to their chests.

Meanwhile the Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega was very lukewarm: "we'll have to see if Wolfowitz will be able to retain the moral authority necessary to fulfil his duties".

Alex Wilks ~ April 14, 2007

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