Eurogroup urgently seeks new head

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Eurogroup urgently seeks new head

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France’s Pierre Moscovici has emerged as a candidate to become the new chairman of the Eurogroup as Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed he will step down at the end of the year.

Some see Moscovici as the front runner.

The man himself said he was “surprised and flattered” to be considered a potential candidate, but would not be drawn on his chances.

Juncker’s announcement that he would no longer preside over the influential monthly council of finance ministers means policymakers have less than a month to agree on a successor.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is also in the frame, but the fact that there are general elections in Germany next autumn might scupper that idea.

Juncker’s successor has to be chosen by eurozone finance ministers via a majority vote and will serve for a renewable two-and-a-half-year term.

The committee is one of the most powerful in the EU and has taken or prepared some of the most important decisions in the debt crisis over the past three years.

Financial markets play close attention to comments made by finance ministers ahead of each Eurogroup meeting, and markets and the euro frequently move sharply on the basis of what is agreed or likely to be agreed among the ministers.