The business on...Mario Draghi, President-designate, European Central Bank

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The Independent Online

He's got the gig, then?

Yes, after some last-minute games – you know the Europeans.

What do you mean?

Well, while Mr Draghi was the only candidate to replace Jean-Claude Trichet, whose term at the ECB comes to an end in October, the French were being difficult. They were concerned that with an Italian replacing their Mr Trichet, France would have no one on the six-man board of the ECB. Fortunately, Mr Draghi's countryman, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, fell on his sword – he's giving up his seat on the board to make way for a Frenchman.

Goodness, nothing's ever simple in Europe, is it?

No – and appointing Mr Draghi,currently the Governor of Italy'scentral bank, was the easy part. You can bet the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis will not have been resolved by the time he takes office.

Might the Italians be dragged in?

It's certainly possible. Italy's national debt is stable but far too high. Moody's, the credit ratings agency, warned last week it was considering a downgrade of the country, andyesterday added that it was worried about many of its smaller banks.

Wouldn't that be embarrassing?

To some extent, though Mr Draghi is credited with having done a good job in supervising the Italian banking sector, which came through the credit crisis much better than many others. The smaller banks at which Moody's is looking do not appear to have been of systemic importance.

But what about the debt?

That's a matter for the Government of Italy, rather than Mr Draghi. On monetary policy, his area, he's highly regarded – one reason why he's got the ECB job despite the warning in Germany's Bild earlier this year that "For Italians, inflation is a way of life, like tomato sauce with spaghetti".

What's his background?

Academia, the World Bank and a stint at Goldman Sachs. And on that issue of debt, the Italians used to call him Super Mario following a spell in the Treasury in the Nineties when he helped steer Italy out of a debt crisis and into the single currency.

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