Friday, July 6, 2012
Lunch with the FT: Jean-Claude Trichet
July 6, 2012
He was president of the European Central Bank as crisis gripped the continent. Now, he tells Martin Wolf, the eurozone ‘must go further’.
At precisely 12.20pm, I enter the courtyard of the Louvre. In front of me is IM Pei’s Pyramid, the entrance to the great museum and one of the grands projets of President François Mitterrand. To my right is Café Marly, where I have agreed to have lunch at 12.30pm with Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank until last autumn and, before that, head of France’s treasury and governor of the Banque de France.
The restaurant has a long line of tables, stretching along the wall of the palace, facing the great courtyard, some in the open air and then two rows of tables behind glass. It is elegantly laid out.
I have come to meet Monsieur Jean-Claude Trichet, I explain. The lady at the entrance looks at the list but finds no such name. I wonder whether I have taken the Eurostar on the wrong day. That would be remarkably silly. Then, suddenly, Trichet is there, exactly on time. I explain that there seems to be no table. But, as soon as the restaurant manager realises who my companion is, the missing table appears.
Trichet is 69, slim and elegantly dressed. It is more than 20 years since I first met him in the Trésor, in this very building. But he is largely unchanged: courteous, lucid (a favourite word of his) and considered, speaking in a cultivated but strongly accented English.