The European Union finally gave their blessing to the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank after weeks of speculation that they would attempt to sink it:
European Union governments gave their endorsement to World Bank president nominee Paul Wolfowitz on Wednesday after he affirmed his commitment to multilateralism and said he would make the fight against poverty his top goal as head of the Washington-based global lending institution.
Belgian Development Aid minister Armand De Decker told reporters “there are no objections of EU countries” to Wolfowitz, who met for two hours with development and finance ministers at EU headquarters.
The specter of having a Bush administration official so closely aligned with the US policy in Iraq and on the war on terror leading the World Bank made a number of European nations uneasy. Undoubtedly, their concerns spring from their own domestic politics rather than any particular issue Wolfowitz would cause in his new position. Voting for Wolfowitz will clearly be played as an endorsement of the so-called “neocon” agenda by radical leftists looking for a lever to greater power in Europe.
In return for this capitulation, the EU wants Wolfowitz to add more Europeans to his staff as a balance between Washington and the EU. France in particular wants the chairman of the Paris Club, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, to serve as Wolfowitz’ deputy, presumably to ensure that the World Bank does not invade Iran. Hopefully, Wolfowitz will choose his deputies more carefully, from countries that have proven themselves to support the spread of democracy — the only way to introduce the stability and responsiveness needed to end the corruption and tyranny that causes endemic poverty. He can start looking in Britain, Poland, and the Czech Republic.