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Germany is just another country, ECB's 'owl' Lagarde tells paper

Germany is just another country, ECB's 'owl' Lagarde tells paper
FILE PHOTO: Christine Lagarde, President-designate of the European Central Bank, gives a speech at a farewell event for ECB's outgoing President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt, Germany October 28, 2019. Boris Roessler/Pool via REUTERS -
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is just one of 19 countries in the euro zone and the European Central Bank needs all of them to be “on board” with its policy decisions, the ECB’s new president Christine Lagarde told a German newspaper.

In the interview with Die Zeit, extracts from which were published on Wednesday, Lagarde also vowed to defy attempts to pigeon-hole her as an policy dove or hawk, saying instead that she was “an owl”.

Lagarde’s accession to the presidency of the eurozone’s monetary authority is being closely watched for signs that she will deviate from the accomodative monetary stance taken by her predecessor Mario Draghi in the face of criticism from wealthy northern countries like Germany and the Netherlands.

“Germany is important, but it is one of 19 countries in the eurozone,” she told the newspaper. “Yes, a big economy, but everyone else also has to be on board.”

Germany’s representatives on the ECB’s Governing Council, as well as many of the country’s politicians and economists, were critical of the ECB’s dovish policy of sub-zero interest rates and massive bond purchases under Draghi

But Lagarde sidestepped attempts to label her a dove or a hawk.

“I hope I will be an owl. I like owls. They are very wise animals,” she said.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Francesco Canepa)

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