Tuesday

31st Jan 2023

Germany defends ECB from Sarkozy proposal

  • Sarkozy's ideas do not sit well with Merkel - but his own aides have suggested he is all electioneering (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Germany has rejected Nicolas Sarkozy's idea to change the rules of the European Central Bank (ECB) bank if he gets re-elected as French president.

“The German position on the ECB and its role – independent of encouragement and assistance from politics – is known, also in Paris, and has been unchanged for a long time,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference in Berlin on Monday (16 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He added that Berlin agrees with Paris on the need to boost growth and employment in Europe, but suggested this was not a task for the eurozone central bank.

On Sunday, Sarkozy said that if re-elected in May, he would push for a revamp of the rules governing the Frankfurt-based bank to support growth more actively. Currently the bank's task is limited to price stability.

But his comments were downplayed by some of his own aides who told Le Monde anonymously that the "candidate" Sarkozy has the "liberty" to talk about issues he cannot as a president.

Germany's Angela Merkel, Sarkozy and Italy's Mario Monti last November agreed to no longer talk publicly about the role of the bank amid fears that the institution would be perceived as being under political influence.

But Sarkozy on Sunday said "we cannot have taboo subjects". His comments came as he trails the Socialist contender Francois Hollande in polls. Hollande's campaign has been focussed on growth measures.

Another aide to the French president told Reuters that Sarkozy knew he would have "no chance" of getting the ECB's mandate changed to include provisions for supporting growth.

"What we want is for there to be a dialogue between the economic government (of Europe) and the ECB on all important issues and in particular exchange rate policy," the aide said.

But the Danish minister of economy, who is chairing the meetings of EU finance chiefs on Monday, said all this talk was counter-productive.

"I think that the European Central Bank could only act when politicians stop talking about what the central bank should do," Margrethe Vestager told an audience in Copenhagen.

"It is very important that the Central Bank is independent in handling monetary policy, and when Merkel and Sarkozy backed off the Central Bank, then it started to act, and to make sure that the equity was more available than it had been. And I think that the reason why we are in a more stable situation now is very much due to the fact that there is an active monetary policy by the ECB," she said.

Sarkozy wants new role for euro bank

One week before elections, French incumbent Sarkozy has said the ECB should get a new mandate on economic growth - a no-go area for Germany.

Merkel and Sarkozy: The end of the affair?

She needed him to soften the idea Germany runs Europe. He needed her to show France still counts - but the political love affair is looking less useful than before.

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.

Opinion

More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  2. EU lobby register still riddled with errors
  3. Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk
  4. More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies
  5. Study: EU electricity transition sped into high gear in 2022
  6. Russia and China weaponised pandemic to sow distrust, MEPs hear
  7. Frontex to spend €100m on returning migrants this year
  8. EU aims to simplify tax credits to counteract US green subsidies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us