How well is your finance minister doing as the global economy comes tumbling around your ears? Finns, at least, can hold their heads up with pride: Jyrki Katainen (pictured on ice) has topped The Financial Times’ annual rankings of European finance ministers.
Nineteen ministers were judged on their economic performance, political performance and their country’s financial stability. The latter was based on the cost of buying insurance against default on money borrowed by the government, politics on what a panel of economists saw as lucidity, leadership and so on, and economics on a wide range of macro factors. Katainen triumphed primarily on economics with the FT citing a projected healthy budget surplus next year.
Results for the G7 members of the group were mixed. Germany’s Peer Steinbruck came second, despite a poor showing on politics, and France’s Christine Lagarde was seventh. Britain and Italy languished at 14 and 16, respectively, although at least UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling can boast of coming first in politics. Something to do with élan, apparently.