Christine Lagarde will raise the profile of the European Central Bank, making it a more politically-savvy institution that takes its message directly to the people. However policy innovation, the trademark of her predecessor, may be relegated. In return, Lagarde may be able to use her considerable diplomatic skills to persuade Germany to help temper a euro zone slow-down by raising its spending levels – a feat outgoing ECB chief Mario Draghi failed to achieve. Facing a protracted crisis, Draghi and his team of highly-trained monetary policy-makers have essentially devised the world’s biggest experiment in unconventional policy over the last five years. Weak growth suggests the stimulus path must be pursued, even as the limits of its existing tools are nearing. With little training or experience in monetary policy, Lagarde, who takes over from Mario Draghi on Nov 1, will be the arbiter and not the driver of the policy innovation that is now needed, putting a greater burden on Philip Lane, the ECB’s new chief economist, and the bank’s staff. “The question is whether the monetary policy brain drain with the departures of (former chief economist) Peter Praet, (former vice president) Vitor Constancio and Mario Draghi will be equally replaced or whether Philip Lane might soon be the last pragmatic monetary economist standing in the ECB’s Executive Board,” ING economist Carsten Brzeski said. Draghi, himself a PhD economist who wrote a dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MTI) on economic theory and its application, has in contrast been the
Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter said in a meeting on Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron that he cannot work toward a cease-fire because he has no one with whom to negotiate. Hifter opened a military offensive on the Libyan capital of Tripoli in early April despite commitments to move toward elections in the North African country. Libya is divided between Khalifa Hifter, whose self-styled Libyan National Army controls the east and much of the south, and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, who runs the U.N.-supported but weak government in Tripoli. During a more than hour-long closed door meeting, Macron asked Hifter to work toward a cease-fire and a return to the political process, according to a statement from Macron’s office. When the question of a cease-fire is put on the table, “the reaction of … Hifter is ‘with whom can I negotiate a ceasefire today?’ ” an official of the presidential Elysee Palace said. Hifter considers the Sarraj government is being eaten from within by armed militias and considers “it’s not for him (Hifter) to negotiate with representatives of these militias,” the official said. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the delicate talks and asked to remain anonymous. The closed-door meeting came two weeks after Macron hosted Libya’s struggling U.N.-backed prime minister, who has denounced Hifter’s offensive as an attempted coup. Macron’s office has expressed support for Sarraj. The official rejected claims that France is secretly backing Hifter, saying that France is trying “to create a dynamic” between
Russia signaled increase influence in Africa, a move seen by France as meddling in its former colonies. “We are pro-actively helping the CAR, knowingly with the support of the people and we would like our efforts to be duly reflected in the French draft,” said Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanski.
“Everybody was wondering why the format of the meeting between Putin and Trump, which was announced after the visit of [US National Security Adviser] John Bolton to Russia, was changed. They explained it with high politics, but the real explanation is quite simple,” the source was quoted as saying.