Germany expects Georgieva to become IMF head, Russia pledges support

FILE PHOTO: World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva attends a session of the Gaidar Forum 2018 "Russia and the World: values and virtues" in Moscow, Russia January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is optimistic that Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva will become the head of the International Monetary Fund, a spokeswoman for the German Finance Ministry said on Monday.

European Union governments picked the 65-year-old Georgieva as the bloc’s candidate to lead the IMF after more than 12 hours of talks on Friday.

Georgieva grew up in Bulgaria under communism before climbing the World Bank’s ranks to become chief executive in 2017, after nearly seven years in Brussels as European commissioner for international cooperation then for the bloc’s budget.

Most EU states backed Georgieva even though her candidacy will force a change in IMF rules that require the managing director to be younger than 65 years old when appointed.

Germany does not expect Georgieva’s age to stand in the way of her becoming IMF head, the Finance Ministry spokeswoman said.

Russia’s Finance Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Russia has a positive attitude towards the nomination of Georgieva and will be ready to support her during the voting.

“Georgieva is a brilliant diplomat, a fully trained economist, a competent and highly professional financier. In a situation of growing protectionism in the global economy, her experience in solving problems of development will be more useful than ever,” the Russian ministry added.

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Michelle Martin and Polina Devitt,; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Ed Osmond