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IMF chief Lagarde: Germany's Schaeuble was 'a rock' in debt crisis

Europe
12.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Washington (dpa) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is attending his last annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund before stepping down from his post after elections last month.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, who worked alongside Schaeuble as French finance minister before taking the helm of the Washington-based crisis lender in 2011, said Thursday that she was "sad that he is going."

As the leading advocate for austerity policies during the calamitous debt crises that threatened the survival of the euro currency, Schaeuble cast a long shadow on global finance.

His presence was felt not least at the IMF, which joined with European partners in a long series of bailouts for Greece as other eurozone members struggled to manage excessive debts.

"I‘m sad to have to give up on the good work - sometimes difficult, because we didn‘t always agree," Lagarde said. "But he has been a rock, he has been a giant, he has been unbelievably solid."

Schaeuble has his critics, she conceded.

"We can all be criticized, but in the critical moments he was keeping the group focused and had this inner strength about him that gave the rest of the room confidence," Lagarde said.

She said that the European Union, "which is yet to be a political union, needs that kind of strength and determination."

Schaeuble has been on a farewell tour this week, making a Eurogroup swansong Monday in a meeting of finance ministers of the 19-member eurozone.

 

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