Zoellick in Europe: 2 cats, 2 rabbits

In London on Monday, Zoellick sidestepped questions on whether the US should retain the right to annoint the head of the Bank. The FT reports that when asked if he was likely to do a Wolfowitz by bringing in his own people to key positions in the Bank, he quipped: “I don’t have people. I have two cats and two rabbits.” Which does raise the question of whether they would be better qualified than some of the Wolfowitz appointees.

On Monday evening Zoellick met with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and then with foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, finance minister Jean-Louis Borloo and prime minister Francois Fillon on Tuesday. At a press conference in Paris covered by Bloomberg, Zoellick was selling the Doha trade deal: “If selected for the Bank presidency, I would be pleased to help to work with the WTO and the members to see how we can make the aid-for-trade connection.” “I’ve been trying to explain in Africa and elsewhere that a deal is possible. I think a deal is important,” he said. Ministers from Brazil, the EU, India and the US meet in the German city of Potsdam next week to try to kickstart the stalled five-year-old round of talks.

On Wednesday Zoellick was in Germany where he met with development minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul. After praising Zoellick (“I am certain that he fulfills all the requirements for the post of World Bank president”), Deutsche-Welle reports that Wieczorek-Zeul pressed home the importance of “the fight against climate change and the advancement of renewable energies”.

Reuters adds that Zoellick responded to a question in Germany on the growing influence of China on Africa: “I have worked a lot with China over the years and I find it at a very interesting point. It is intensely focused on national interests … but I think they are willing to see a broader sense of national interests.” He said that Gulf and Arab states would play an increasingly important role in development: “Helping the modernisers succeed in the developing world in the Islamic world is going to be very significant.” Zoellick singled out Egypt and countries with big investment funds such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia: “It will be key to think where the World Bank is a leader, catalyst, coordinator and where it has a support role.”

I couldn’t find any reporting of his time in Belgium – anyone have any insight?

Zoellick is in Norway tomorrow, after which he will travel to Mexico and Brazil, before returning to Washington next Tuesday. He is expected to meet with the Bank’s executive board on Wednesday, after which his coronation will be announced. Then we all wait five years for this whole shameful process to start again.

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