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Germany's Schaeuble defends ECB


Germany's Schaeuble defends ECB


Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has been defending the European Central Bank’s presumed plans to help save the eurozone.

In an interview with the Irish Times newspaper, Schaeuble said he does not agree with the criticism that the ECB risks breaching its mandate, which is focused on keeping inflation low.

Asked about ECB President Mario Draghi’s crisis-fighting strategy Schaeuble said” “It is claimed in some quarters the ECB is breaching its mandate; I don’t see that.”

Draghi vowed last month to do whatever it takes to save the euro.

That raised the prospect of it buying government bonds of troubled eurozone states like Spain and Italy, which in turn brought withering criticism in Germany, particularly from Berlin’s appointed ECB governing council member Jens Weidmann.

Schaeuble, who said on Thursday that granting Greece more time to meet its fiscal targets was not a solution to the problems, told the Irish newspaper that the Greek programme would remain alive as long as it was “the best solution for Greece and Europe.”

“The final goal is sustainable stable economic development in Europe. If we do things that overwhelm Germany’s economic potential in the view of the markets, then Europe is weak as a whole,” he said.

Schaeuble also reiterated that he was convinced the European Stability Mechanism met the standards of Germany’s democratic system ahead of a ruling next month by the German constitutional court on complaints made to it about the eurozone’s permanent rescue fund.

He was lukewarm, however, about Ireland’s plans to improve the terms of its costly bank bailout after Dublin’s hopes were raised by an agreement of euro zone leaders – that was backed by Draghi – to examine proposals in October.

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