Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde

Opinion | Lagarde’s ECB task

While Lagarde may not have top-tier academic credentials, she is reputed to have the diplomatic skills needed to forge a consensus on what’s best for everybody

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde seems set to succeed Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank (ECB) on 1 November. At the Fund, which she has led for nine years now as its first woman chief, she earned a reputation as a good crisis manager, open to novel ideas. If she is an ideal choice for the ECB at this juncture, it’s largely for her experience in engaging multiple countries with diverse economic interests.

The principal perplexity of the ECB is how to run a common monetary policy for a eurozone of 19 nations with separate fiscal policies. Cohesion gets tricky when some of them face a crisis (think Italy and Greece), and others don’t. Ensuring that this inbuilt fragility does not threaten the euro project is a key task for the ECB. While Lagarde may not have top-tier academic credentials, she is reputed to have the diplomatic skills needed to forge a consensus on what’s best for everybody. While Europeans may have rallied around the blue multi-starred flag after Brexit, economic success is crucial to “ever closer union". Much hinges on how Lagarde runs their central bank.

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