Friday

3rd Feb 2023

Trichet concerned over EU treaty change

  • Jean-Claude Trichet is acting to ensure his bank's continued independence (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Central Bank (ECB) last week sent a letter asking member states to make sure that the bank's independence is maintained in a new EU treaty following a small but potentially significant change to the draft treaty outline.

In a letter sent to the current Portuguese EU presidency published 9 August, ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet asked for specific changes that would guarantee that the bank has a special status, separate from other EU institutions such as the parliament and commission.

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

"Because of its specific institutional features, the ECB needs to be differentiated from the union's institutions," said Mr Trichet in his letter sent to Manuel Lobo Atunes, Portuguese Europe minister.

This special status was secured in the original draft EU constitution, which fell by the wayside after being rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago.

But the clause did not make it into the outline for a new EU treaty agreed by EU leaders before the summer and set to be finalised by the end of the year.

Mr Trichet fears that if the current treaty outline remains the same, with the ECB listed along the commission and parliament as an institution, it will be subject to the same general rules as these institutions which work together and follow certain agreed goals and European values.

This could leave the bank legally open to pressure from EU leaders to follow certain more politcal goals.

Maintaining the bank's independence has become more of a public battle ground since French president Nicolas Sarkozy came to power earlier this summer.

Mr Sarkozy has made several comments indicating that he would like to curb the bank's independence by calling for greater political influence in monetary policy making.

Mr Sarkozy has also repeatedly criticised the strength of the euro as well as what he sees as the bank's too strong emphasis on inflation.

Late last month the bank publicly hit back at the French president.

"The President of the ECB repeats with gravity that any attempt to seek to influence... the ECB in the performance of its tasks' violates Article 108 of the EC Treaty and that therefore such declarations are not acceptable,'' said a spokesperson on behalf of Mr Trichet.

France and Germany divided over new ECB status

The status of the European Central Bank in the new EU treaty is causing friction between France and Germany, with Paris in favour of the bank being considered a normal EU institution and Berlin opposing it.

Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'

The European Central Bank raised interest rates by another 0.5 percent to a 14-year high, and expects to hike rates by another half percent in March. But what does that mean for the green transition?

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. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  2. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  3. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  4. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  5. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU
  6. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  7. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  8. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

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