Paul Wolfowitz will plead to keep his job as President of the World Bank today before a special investigating committee, which is said to have concluded that he breached ethics by engineering a pay rise for his girlfriend.
The fate of Mr Wolfowitz, who in his former role at the Pentagon was one of the architects of the Iraq war, has opened up a new split between EU countries and the US.
The issue may overshadow White House talks today between President Bush, who nominated Mr Wolfowitz for the job in 2005, and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency.
On Wednesday the European Parliament demanded Mr Wolfowitz’s resignation and called on EU officials with Mrs Merkel to tackle Mr Bush over his continued defence of the World Bank chief.
Earlier on the same day Mr Bush had once again praised Mr Wolfowitz — who was sitting in the front row of an event at the White House — for his leadership in the bank’s fight against global poverty.
European countries led by Germany and France, but including Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, have raised concerns that Mr Wolfowitz’s position is now untenable.
Newspaper reports over the weekend claimed that the committee had delayed issuing a final report recommending Mr Wolfowitz’s resignation so that he has time to “consider his position and go quietly”.
Resign! Resign! It's time you go Wolfowitz!