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Coalition negotiations: Personal poker for Weidmann successor |

Status: 25.10.2021 1:40 p.m.

The new government must name a successor for the outgoing Bundesbank President Weidmann. Personnel could play an important role in post poker in the coalition negotiations.

By Hans-Joachim Vieweger, ARD capital studio.

Another personality for the new federal government. Because even if the grand coalition under Angela Merkel continues to lead government affairs, it is good form that such an important person as that of the Bundesbank president is no longer decided by an old government.

Hans-Joachim Vieweger
ARD capital studio

Olaf Scholz could have a say as finance minister, but an early decision on a successor for Jens Weidmann would be an affront to his allies of the Greens and FDP.

How does the search for a successor work?

In purely formal terms, it is like this: The President of the Bundesbank is appointed by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Government and after hearing the Bundesbank. This may have to happen quickly if the new government – as currently planned – is formed in the week of December 6th. By then, however, the person will already be an issue in the coalition negotiations.

Who could follow Weidmann

The question of the person is strongly linked to the profile. While Weidmann stood for a stability-oriented monetary policy in the tradition of the Bundesbank, a loose monetary policy has been established within the European Central Bank for about ten years, which tries to fight crises with low interest rates and billions in the purchase of bonds. Weidmann had often spoken out in favor of a more cautious approach, but remained in the minority.

Against this background, the federal government could opt for a less confrontational course at the top of the Bundesbank. It should also be important that the SPD and the Greens in particular want a woman to head the Bundesbank.

How much continuity in Bundesbank policy?

A candidate in this sense would be Isabel Schnabel, who is already a member of the Executive Board of the ECB. Marcel Fratzscher, President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), who has already worked for the ECB, would also be close to current central bank policy. Or Finance State Secretary Jörg Kukies, a confidante of Olaf Scholz, who does not come from monetary policy, but knows it from his previous role as Germany head of Goldman Sachs.

For a position more in the sense of Weidmann, on the other hand, would be the Frankfurt economist Volker Wieland, a pronounced expert on monetary policy and one of the so-called economic methods. The FDP, which promotes continuity in the Bundesbank’s policy, could speak out for him.

Larger staff carousel possible

The position of President of the Bundesbank is not the only vacant position in the economic sector that the new federal government can fill. A place on the Advisory Council has been vacant for months – the Union and the SPD had not been able to agree on a successor to the previous chairman of the Committee of Economic Wise Men, Lars Feld. Feld, for example, spoke out against the SPD’s demand for an increase in the minimum wage to twelve euros.

Against this background, it can be assumed that an open position will be filled in the sense of the FDP and a position in the sense of the SPD or the Greens. Or there may even be a larger personnel carousel, for example like this: Isabel Schnabel becomes President of the Bundesbank, to compensate Volker Wieland moves up to the ECB Board of Directors. This means that there are even two places to be filled in the Council of Economic Wise Men, which further increases the negotiating power for the partners in the possible traffic light coalition.

How the search for a successor for Bundesbank President Weidmann works

Hans-Joachim Vieweger, ARD Berlin, 25.10.2021 · 11:34

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