Sunday, March 3, 2024

Belgian central bank governor renewal put on hold due to political deadlock

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(Bloomberg) — The term of office for the head of the National Bank of Belgium has not yet been renewed, potentially leaving the central bank without a leader early next year.

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Gov. Pierre Hounche’s term ends on Jan. 1, but “so far the government has not announced any decisions related to this term,” a spokesperson for the agency said in an email Wednesday. Wansh, 56, has been with the central bank since 2011 and took over the top job in 2019, when he was appointed for a five-year term.

Belgian newspaper Record reported that although there was no opposition to Bunsch’s continued appointment, the government had not been able to give formal approval due to disagreements over the appointment of the top federal government official.

A spokesperson told Bloomberg that the executive is working on a solution, but declined to provide further details.

The central bank’s term of office is renewable until the governor reaches official retirement age. The appointment comes into effect by Royal Decree signed by the King.

According to the Record, if the government is unable to reappoint Wansch as scheduled, Lieutenant Governor Stephen Vanackere is expected to replace him on an interim basis. It is unclear who will represent Belgium on the European Central Bank’s board.

A spokesperson for the National Bank of Belgium said the central bank was “analyzing the legal implications at various levels” of the unprecedented scenario of the absence of a governor on January 2.

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