Germany's finance minister has backed his French counterpart, Christine Lagarde, as the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), DPA reported.
In a newspaper interview due to be published on Sunday, Wolfgang Schaeuble described Lagarde as "excellently qualified in skills terms and as a person. She is very much respected and esteemed in the entire financial world."
His comments to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper came a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced "high regard" for the Frenchwoman and appealed to other European Union nations to rally behind her.
Outgoing IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned on Wednesday to defend himself against attempted rape charges in New York.
Schaeuble said a European should continue to hold the post, and Lagarde would be best placed to secure the position.
"At the end of the day, the United States and Europe pay by far the greatest proportion of the dues," Schaueble said.
"In Christine Lagarde, if she decides to run, Europe would have top chances of gaining the post again. But what is decisive above everything else is that Europe speaks with one voice on the issue," he said.
However, the opposition leader in Germany's parliament, former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has criticized the Merkel cabinet for not promoting a German candidate instead.
"It's remarkable that Angela Merkel evidently has not even thought about putting a German candidate into the ring," he told the Spiegel Online website on Saturday, calling Merkel's EU nominations policy a "failure."
Asked about Lagarde, Steinmeier said: "She's definitely one of a field of six to eight candidates that are being seriously debated. But the field is greater."