Europe is sharply divided on the role of the ECB – The Property Chronicle
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Europe is sharply divided on the role of the ECB

Political Insider

The search for ECB President Mario Draghi’s successor has revealed deep-seated divisions in the Eurozone over the fundamental responsibilities of the bank.

Draghi’s presidency was marked by a willingness to be a lender of last resort to ailing Eurozone governments.At the height of the European Debt Crisis (2009-2012), it was Draghi who calmed market jitters with his affirmation that “the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough,” adding to the €500bn bailout fund European finance ministers raised earlier that year.Combined with potentially unlimited support for countries needing bailouts, the ECB was able to restore confidence in the euro and reduce the cost of borrowing for Eurozone member states, bringing the European debt crisis to a close.

Yet there was never a consensus over Draghi’s interpretation of the ECB’s mandate.Shortly after his comments, the Bundesbank criticised the ECB for “blur[ring] the line between monetary and fiscal policy.”Germany’s then finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, reluctantly supported Draghi’s comments, but on the understanding that “politicians also take and implement the necessary measures to overcome the financial and confidence crisis”.As far as German hawks are concerned, the inability of Eurozone member states to service their government debt is a matter for their politicians, not the ECB.

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