Angela Merkel has reportedly blinked in the row over Jean-Claude Juncker’s candidacy for president of the European Commission and is now mooting IMF boss Christine Lagarde. The Reuters report cites two French sources who say the German Chancellor has asked France whether it could put forward Lagarde.
If this is true, then it does explain or at least justify the very bullish tone that government sources took this morning when briefing Coffee House about the prospect of Juncker being blocked. And it would be a good sign that David Cameron is indeed getting his way if Merkel was prepared to raise the idea with François Hollande.
But it would be odd if Hollande were enthusiastic about this. The Reuters report says he was concerned about Europe losing the top job at the IMF, and indeed France would be unlikely to want to see a second French head of the organisation stepping down so early when the circumstances of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s departure were so controversial. So Merkel may have raised it, but that is by no means the same as the deal being done.