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Christine Lagarde. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

After weeks of deadlock, 28 European heads of state have announced four nominees to fill the EU's top jobs, including International Monetary Fund chair Christine Lagarde to be the next president of the European Central Bank.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Felix Salmon: Once again, a French national has the most powerful job in Europe. Lagarde has done an excellent job of leading the IMF, and she also ran the French Treasury with aplomb during and after the global financial crisis. She is not an economist, but she has the respect of markets.

  • The New York Times' Neil Irwin notes: "The important thing here is not that Lagarde will be more/less dovish than other candidates would've been, but that the ECB will be led by someone with real political clout."

Lagarde announced on Twitter that she would "temporarily relinquish" her responsibilities as IMF managing director during the nomination period. She would be the first female president of the ECB.

Full slate of nominees:

  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president.
  • Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as European Council president.
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as high representative for foreign affairs.
  • IMF head Christine Lagarde as ECB president.

The big picture: The nomination was especially difficult this year due to the fractured parliament that resulted from May's European elections. The center-right and center-left establishment groups lost significant ground, leading many — including French President Emmanuel Macron — to argue that they no longer had a mandate to hoard Europe's top jobs.

What to watch: The European Parliament will now vote on the nominations, starting with von der Leyen as president. If confirmed, as expected, she would be the first woman to hold the EU's top job.

Go deeper: 6 key takeaways from the critical European elections

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.

3 hours ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.