PARIS (Reuters) – Europe may miss Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s leadership in its hour of need even more than will the International Monetary Fund and the French left.
The charismatic former French finance minister acted as a cool-headed crisis manager with influence in Athens, Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels after the euro zone sovereign debt turmoil erupted in 2009.
He has also been a consistent and articulate advocate of closer European integration, centred on the euro currency area.
Strauss-Kahn went out on a limb to support the euro area as no previous IMF managing director had done, using his position to coax and occasionally scold reluctant European governments toward greater fiscal union.
His shock departure following charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York, which he denies, could hardly have come at a worse time for the European Union as it struggles with a deepening debt crisis and a spreading wave of angry nationalism.