Brussels, FrankfurtFrench President Emmanuel Macron has answered with biting irony a question about whether Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann would be a good ECB president. Weidmann was in an interview Wednesday with the controversial bond-buying program OMT ("Outright Monetary Transactions") of the European Court of Justice.
Referring to this, Macron said to journalists in Brussels on Friday: "I am really glad that ECB Council members who have strongly opposed OMT, and even legally challenged decisions by Mario Draghi and OMT, subsequently pledged to do so." Then added French President: "I think that means that we all have good things about us and can all become better people. There are therefore reasons to be optimistic about human nature. "
Macron did not want to comment directly on whether he would support a candidacy of Weidmann. His commentary, however, shows his skepticism towards the Bundesbank president. It also shows how deeply mistrust sits in parts of Europe compared to Weidmann.
On Tuesday, ECB President Mario Draghi Weidmann indirectly accused populism. At a central bank conference in Portuguese Sintra he had said in a panel discussion: "Whenever national central banks have not supported the actions of the Governing Council, populism has stoked." Most participants realized that Weidmann was meant by this criticism.
The Bundesbank president, who is considered a promising candidate for Draghi's succession, has frequently criticized decisions by the Governing Council in the past. He was the only member of the Council of the European Central Bank, which in 2012 voted against the decision in an emergency to help euro countries with purchases of short-term government securities – an instrument that has not been used until today, but has nevertheless created a certain security.
With his statement, Weidmann actually supported the vain attempt of some plaintiffs to have the instrument turned away by the Federal Constitutional Court. This has some of his colleagues in the ECB Council, the importance of unity at least outwardly put down, not forgotten today – including apparently Draghi itself.
In the interview on Wednesday Weidmann said that the controversial bond-buying program OMT had been classified by the European Court of Justice as legal and he is committed to it. Of course, a central bank must act decisively in an emergency. Because of the lack of clarity as to whether he was behind this central instrument of the ECB to rescue the euro, there were concerns about his possible nomination, especially in southern Europe. Draghi's term ends in October.
More: There were only a few sentences, but they had it all: Mario Draghi said that at the central bank conference in Sintra.
(TagToTranslate) Emmanuel Macron (t) Mario Draghi (t) Jens Weidmann (t) Euro bailout (t) ECB (t) Monetary policy (t) Federal Reserve (t) Interview (t) EMU (t) Appendix (t) Currency (t) Bundesbank (t) Federal Constitutional Court (t) Jens Weidmann (t) Mario Draghi (t) Emmanuel Macron