Monday 5 December 2016

European Central Bank's power without accountability has become intolerable

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

'The ECB had the money so the ECB had the power. But, in a democracy, power needs checks.'
'The ECB had the money so the ECB had the power. But, in a democracy, power needs checks.'

At this stage, it's less important to ask whether we should have burned bondholders during the banking crisis than to understand how it came about that we did not.

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The money is gone now - regardless of the rights and wrongs - but understanding how crucial decisions were taken at the time could at least allow us to learn from the events of 2008 and 2010.

The Banking Inquiry's efforts to do just that were inevitably hampered by the European Central Bank's refusal to co-operate fully with a national parliament. Now we find that Europe's own financial watchdog, the Court of Auditors, has been equally unsuccessful in getting straight answers from Frankfurt. Not only that, but the Court of Auditors says the ECB shared its crucial analysis with neither the European Commission nor national governments.

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