View from City Road: Scene set for fun and games

France's new central bank council could prove a body with real clout, far more influential than Kenneth Clarke's seven wise men who advise but do not decide.

A pair of anti-Maastricht campaigners, a couple of centre-right conservatives, an unimpressive former banker and an energetic socialist - the mix of members is predictably balanced between opposing forces, so there will be some fun and games working out what they are up to.

Perhaps the most intriguing appointment is the economist Denise Flouzat, whose academic credentials are less important than her position as president of the anti-Maastricht organisation set up by Philippe Seguin, president of the National Assembly, during the referendum campaign. Less vocal but on the same side in that debate is Jean-Pierre Gerard, head of a national standards bureau. Both are clearly backed by Mr Seguin.

There had been speculation that the list, formally presented by Mr Seguin, would contain a fair number of names committed to lowering interest rates and letting the franc fall. But an anti-Maastricht stance is not necessarily the same as opposition to a strong franc.

Michel Sapin, the socialist politician, was one of the staunchest defenders of Maastricht, and as a like-thinking ally he has another socialist among the permanent Bank of France officials on the council - Herve Hannoun, the deputy governor.

Between these poles of enthusiasm and dislike for European integration lie a pair of practically minded centre-right members, Michel Albert, who is to step down from his job as chairman of Assurances Generales de France, and the economics journalist Jean Boissonnat, co-founder of the magazine L'Expansion.

If the council proves truly independent - there are still some doubters - he will arguably have more influence on the course of events than another journalist, Rupert Pennant-Rea, has as deputy governor of the un-independent Bank of England. Mr Boissonnat is on record as expecting French interest rates to fall this year, but there is no reason to think he favours a dash for cheap money.

The final name among the six new appointments is Bruno de Maulde, head of the Paris Bourse's internal supervisory body and former chairman of Credit du Nord, a centrist name that did not appear to impress anyone in Paris.

Certainly, the membership list does nothing to undermine the French administration's consensus against slashing interest rates at the expense of the franc. Policy will continue to be gradualist.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links