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France backs German candidate for EBRD presidency

France backs Germany’s Thomas Mirow for the presidency of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday.

Berlin has proposed Mirow, deputy German finance minister, for the post which will be vacated by Frenchman Jean Lemierre in July and faces competition from candidates put forward by Greece, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Asked whether France supported Mirow, Lagarde told reporters: “Yes.” During the same news conference, Lagarde said the recent cancellation of a meeting of French and German finance officials had been blown out of proportion and stressed the warmth and closeness of their relations. In another sign of a bid to improve strained ties, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Hanover, they had found a compromise on France’s proposal for a Mediterranean Union, a plan Berlin had long criticized. However, Sarkozy noted that Paris and Berlin differed over economic policy, including the role of the state in the economy. (Reuters)