Schaeuble criticizes Bundesbank

Schaeuble criticizes Bundesbank

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Schaeuble criticizes Bundesbank

Wolfgang Schaeuble REUTERS photo

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has criticized the head of the German central bank for taking a stand against the European Central Bank’s plan to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.

Schaeuble told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that public critiques by Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann may be damaging to confidence in the ECB.

“People are very much confused and the central banks are fundamentally the institutions which should reassure the citizens,” he said in an interview to appear in Sunday’s edition.

ECB President Mario Draghi recently announced an open-ended plan to buy up the bonds of struggling eurozone countries, emphasizing that only governments committed to far-reaching reforms would be eligible for help.

Germany was the only member of the ECB’s board to vote against the plan amid concerns that the unlimited nature of the program could leave Germany, as Europe’s top economy and effective paymaster, on the hook for potentially huge losses.

 Draghi did not announce who was the dissenting vote but Weidmann issued a statement explaining his view.

“If this plan leads to states pushing back the necessary reforms, that is going to again sap confidence in the capacity of political leaders to resolve the crisis,” Weidmann warned in the statement.
But Schaeuble took issue with that point of view, saying when facing strong critics, “I always find it interesting to ask them: and you, what would you do differently? And even the most skeptical answer me: in fact, nothing.

“Shouldn’t they also say that publicly,” he added.

Despite the Bundesbank chief’s action, the German government has given its support to the anti-crisis measures taken by the Frankfurt-based ECB.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the ECB has “clearly shown it was absolutely determined to defend” the stability of the euro.