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23/11/2012 01:05:00

Yves Mersch Appointed to ECB Executive Board

BRUSSELS--Yves Mersch, the governor of Luxembourg's central bank, was confirmed as a member of the European Central Bank's executive board after euro-zone government heads approved the appointment, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in the early hours of Friday.

Mr. Van Rompuy confirmed the move in a tweet shortly after a person familiar with the matter said Mr. Mersch's appointment was approved.

The decision brings to an end a tortuous confirmation process that started when Mr. Mersch was first nominated by member states in July.

Mr. Mersch's pick was opposed by the European Parliament because it meant there would be no women either on the executive board or on the ECB's governing council. The six-person executive board is a key policy-steering body for the ECB.

A further attempt to confirm Mr. Mersch in the job failed last month when it was blocked by Spain, forcing the issue onto the agenda of this week's summit of European leaders on the European Union's multiyear budget.

However this week's vote needed backing by only a qualified majority of member states meaning no country had a veto.

ECB officials have repeatedly said it is important to move quickly to appoint Mr. Mersch in order to ensure the executive board is at full strength.

Reacting to the appointment, Sharon Bowles, the chairman of the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, criticized the move.

"The ECB now has a member on its highest board without a democratically established mandate. Today, the EU's heads of state have sent a clear signal of what their idea of a democratic process is: a tool to be upheld in form and discarded when its truths are inconvenient," she said.

-Write to Laurence Norman at Laurence.norman@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2012 19:05 ET (00:05 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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