ECB’s Lagarde Unveils New Transparency Measures

Europe’s top central banker Monday promised greater transparency in its communications with the European Parliament, stepping up efforts to enhance public accountability following a rebuke from a German court back in May.

Effective immediately, the European Central Bank (ECB) will publish “the opinions of the ECB Ethics Committee for cases of conflict of interest and post-mandate gainful employment by members” of the Bank’s top policy-setting committees, ECB President Christine Lagarde told the European Parliament’s Committee on Monetary and Economic Affairs.

The ECB drew fire from Germany’s constitutional court earlier this year, which ruled that the ECB overstepped its mandate when engaging in asset purchases and demanded the Bank prove the efficacy of the programme.
However, it’s the European Commission that has encountered more public outcry in the area of “post-mandate gainful employment.”

Former President Jose Manual Barroso was rebuked by the EU watchdog for taking a job with Goldman Sachs after his decade in office ended in 2014.

The ECB President did not provide any forward guidance on monetary policy, but repeated warnings that the eurozone’s economic recovery “remains incomplete, uncertain and uneven”.

She also cautioned that “the strength of the recovery remains highly dependent on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the success of containment policies”.  A number of European nations have recently reimposed restrictions on regions experiencing a high rate of transmission of the virus, with large numbers of Spanish and French citizens now under partial lockdown.

Lagarde did acknowledge that inflation “is expected to remain negative over the coming months”, after falling by an annual rate of 0.2% in August. Many European economists have queried the ECB’s seemingly relaxed attitude toward its failure to reach its inflation target of close to below 2%. September inflation data are due on Friday.

Laurie Laird

Julie Ros
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Julie Ros

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