Business Irish

Sunday 25 September 2016

ECB must answer to lawmakers says Hayes

Published 21/05/2016 | 02:30

Brian Hayes MEP. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography
Brian Hayes MEP. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

The European Central Bank (ECB) is not accountable in a meaningful way to elected representatives at European or national level, but that can change within the existing European treaties, Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes has claimed.

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Officials in Frankfurt pick and choose which national parliaments they answer to, and the ECB's claim that it is accountable to the European Parliament is not borne out in practice, he said.

"The ECB is not accountable in any serious way. We know all too well in Ireland that the ECB did not provide a proper account of their actions during Ireland's banking crisis, despite a number of attempts to get Mario Draghi or other current members of ECB staff to appear before the banking inquiry.

"The ECB claims that it is accountable only to the European Parliament. Yet, when it sees fit, it has appeared before national parliaments such as the Bundestag in Germany and the Spanish Parliament," he said.

The huge increase in the powers of the ECB since it was founded means legislation is needed for a process in Europe, similar to the powers given to the Comptroller General in the US to "audit the Fed", he said.

New laws need to be introduced so that an independent body can undertake an audit of ECB accountability and transparency, Brian Hayes said.

Irish Independent

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