World Bulletin / News Desk
France and Germany are trying to agree on a candidate to chair the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers and a name may emerge within days, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said on Wednesday.
Katainen, a pro-European former finance minister who has been mentioned by EU diplomats as a potential candidate, said he had not considered taking over the role from Jean-Claude Juncker but he did not rule it out.
Juncker, Luxembourg's prime minister, who has held the post since its creation in 2006, has said he plans to step down from the Eurogroup chair at the end of this year or early in 2013, leaving member states just a few weeks to find a successor.
Katainen told reporters on the eve of a European Union summit that Berlin and Paris were working on the matter and he expected "a name will come out" in the next few days.
"No one has asked me and thus I haven't started to think about it," the centre-right prime minister said when asked if he would consider the job.
Katainen is considered a candidate because Finland is one of the few remaining triple-A rated countries in the 17-nation currency bloc, and because of his financial experience.
Diplomats said the advantage of having a head of government in the sensitive position was to serve as a bridge with the European Council of EU leaders.
"I am absolutely not available to be a full-time chairman, but that is not in fact what I think will be nominated," Katainen said, leaving open the possibility of serving in a part-time capacity while remaining premier, as Juncker did.
Asked why Finland shouldn't seek the job, he joked: "Usually if you start running for some position you end up nowhere, that's a rule in the EU."
Other potential candidates include the finance ministers of France, Germany and Belgium, but France's Pierre Moscovici is seen as too favourable to common euro zone bonds, Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble, a stickler for austerity, is 70 and faces a general election next September, and Belgium's Steve Vanackere may be too inexperienced.
The Eurogroup has taken or prepared key decisions during the bloc's euro zone's debt crisis over the past three years, such as Greece's debt restructuring.Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2012, 16:48