The Powerful Rise of Christine Lagarde

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French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde, 55, candidate for the head of International Monetary Fund (IMF), poses on the heliport of her ministry, on June 14, 2011 in Paris.
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Right now, the worst job in the world might just be president of the European Commission. The Commission is on the defensive at a difficult moment in history. The recent election of the European Union parliament has established a huge voting block of what are called "euro skeptics"—they are questioning the effectiveness of the Union all together. 

International Monetary Fund Chair Christine Lagarde is a name floating around as a replacement for European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Lagarde took over the IMF while it was in the midsts of crisis and economic turmoil. The supposition is that she might do the same for the suddenly tumultuous and shaky European Union system of governance.

Liz Alderman, chief European business correspondent for the International New York Times, looks at the rise of Christine Lagarde and what her next move might be.

"So far, her line is that she is not a candidate and that she has a great job," says Alderman. "The European Commission job is a very important one. Arguably, however, being the head of the International Monetary Fund is certainly more important and influential on the global financial stage."

Alderman says there are several political considerations that might impact Lagarde's potential jump to the European Commission. 

"Her country's own president, Francois Hollande, would have to put her forward—he would be pretty reluctant to do that because that would mean that a French person would no longer be running the IMF," says Alderman.

While President Hollande might be apprehensive, the European Commission may also be hesitant, as the most recent election showed.

"Voters sort of expressed, effectively, their concern in large numbers and sort of a skepticism about Europe," says Alderman. "[Voters are wondering] what in particular are European institutions and what does the European commission do for them?"

In the last few years, Lagarde has been able to hold her own as a global financial leader.

"In terms of her role as a sort of monitor of the global economy, she has bested a lot of her critics in the last couple of years," says Alderman. "She started off in not necessarily the strongest position, having to take over from her predecessor Dominique Strauss Kahn, who obviously had to resign amid the sex scandal. One of the things that she did was back the sort of ill-fated approach to Greece, which was the epicenter of the Euro crisis."

Alderman says that Lagarde supported strict austerity measures to solve Europe's debt crisis—something that proved to be misguided.

"Once it became clear that was actually really the wrong prescription, she quickly reversed course and has since then basically set out to show that austerity hurts more than it helps," says Alderman. "She's also been very influential on the global economic stage by warning about the dangers of low inflation in Europe, for example, and urging the European Central Bank to do more. That's another reason why she would be seen as a credible candidate for the European Commission. Angela Merkel reportedly is the one who even put that idea forward to President Fancois Hollande. We'll see what happens from here."