Frankfurt Central bankers are often very cautious and speak in their own language. In her first appearance as the new ECB President before the Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Christine Lagarde therefore sent a warning in advance: "Do not interprete too much in my words." She had only just been in office for four weeks and was still there, the language of the central bankers to learn.
Unlike her predecessor Mario Draghi Lagarde deviated more often from her speech. She announced that the ECB would review its monetary policy strategy "in the near future". She will be guided by two principles: thorough analysis and openness.
Lagarde referred to other central banks, such as those in the US, which is also reviewing its strategy. One question that concerns all central banks is how best to define the medium-term objective of monetary policy. In the medium term, the ECB is aiming for inflation just below two percent as the ideal value for the economy, but has missed this target since spring 2013. In November, inflation was only 1.0 percent.
The French woman has headed the euro bank since November. She replaced the Italian Mario Draghi, whose term ended after eight years in October. Lagarde is the first woman at the head of the ECB. She is currently the only woman in the ECB Governing Council to have 25 members. With Isabel Schnabel, another woman has been nominated for the board of directors of the central bank. She must, however, as well as the Italian Fabio Panetta yet to be ratified by Parliament.
During her questioning in parliament, Lagarde was also referred to the small proportion of women in the central bank. She pointed out that 19 of the 25 members of the Council are representatives of the national central banks.
She called on parliamentarians to use their influence at the national level in order to change this. "Maybe you can play a role in pushing national decision-makers to nominate female candidates," she said. "I do not want to be the only woman in the ECB Council."
Another topic in the survey was whether the ECB can and should support the fight against climate change. Lagarde made clear that the primary mandate of the ECB is to ensure price stability. Nevertheless, the central bank must consider whether and to what extent the goal of price stability is influenced by climate change. "If it has an impact, that should be taken into account."
More: Prices in the euro zone rose by 1.0 percent in November, far from the ECB's target. For Christine Lagarde a problem. Read more here.
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