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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 - 3:12:28 AM

FT European Finance Minister Rankings 2010: Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble ranked best; Ireland's Brian Lenihan ranked worst
By Finfacts Team
Dec 6, 2010 - 12:22:28 AM

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From left to right: Charilaos Stavrakis, Minister for Finance for Cyprus, Jyrki Katainen, Finnish Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Minister for Finance, Giulio Tremonti, Italian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance, Josef Proell, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Finance, Ján Pociatek, Slovakian Minister for Finance, and Christine Lagarde, French Minister for Economic Affairs at the May 2010 Eurogroup meeting of Eurozone finance ministers, Brussels, Dec 06, 2010.

The 68 year-old Schäuble, has been wheelchair-bound since surviving an assassination attempt in 1990. He served Chancellor Helmut Kohl as a chief of staff and interior minister in the 1980s. Because of his links to a campaign funding scandal involving Kohl, the former East German physicist, Angela Merkel, seized the leadership of the conservative Christian Democratic Union from him, in 2000.

FT European Finance Minister Rankings 2010: A day ahead of presenting Budget 2011, Ireland's Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has been ranked worst of 19 finance ministers in an annual ranking published in The Financial Times and Germany's Wolfgang Schäuble was ranked best.

“Brian Lenihan was overwhelmed by the crisis in Ireland’s banking system and the implosion of the country’s economic growth,” said the FT.

Lenihan had been unable to restore market confidence in the banks, the newspaper said following a selection that was made by a jury of economists.

“Mr Lenihan could argue that an objective assessment of finance ministers is impossible: the impact of decisions taken now might not be seen for years; some events are beyond their control; economists fight over what is the best response to crises. But since when have talent shows been fair?” the newspaper said.

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou was judged to have the best political skills of the 19 ministers and got an over 8th rank overall.

George Osborne, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer got a 6th rank for his skill in pushing through a bold fiscal austerity plan.

Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble ranked best, owing to the recovery of his economy and the stimulus that was one of the largest as a ratio of GDP (gross domestic product) during the crisis.

He has also been prominent in pushing for a permanent Eurozone rescue mechanism and he took swift action in scaling back emergency measures once the economic recovery took hold.

Poland's Jacek Rostowski ranks second and France’s Christine Lagarde, last year's winner, slid into third place.

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