ECB to decide on bond-buying programme
The ECB's Governing Council is widely expected to unveil a large-scale plan for the purchase of government bonds at its meeting today, Thursday. The decision could further divide the Eurozone if the crisis states abandon austerity and prompt rich countries to end their solidarity, some commentators fear. Others see the plan as an important step towards pulling debt-ridden countries out of their financial misery.
Central bank takes fateful decision
The ECB's announced decision to buy government bonds is the most significant monetary measure since the birth of the euro but it could also be a death sentence for EU solidarity, the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias comments: "This is a decisive turning point - for several reasons. Firstly from an economic perspective: the risk of deflation is no longer simply a journalistic fantasy. It can influence the decisions of European consumers and companies and drive us into prolonged stagnation, or even recession. And secondly from a political perspective: if Draghi decides that the ECB's bond purchases are to be carried out solely through the national central banks (as Germany demands) this will further divide the Eurozone because it contradicts the principle of solidarity."
Unequal bond-buying could endanger Eurozone
The ECB's decision to launch a major government bond-buying programme could ultimately lead to the disintegration of the Eurozone, the liberal business daily Hospodářské noviny comments: "Not just the markets are waiting for the ECB's decision but above all the countries with problems. ... First and foremost Greece, whose bonds however don't fulfil the prerequisites currently expected to be stipulated for the ECB's programme. A decision could influence the Greek elections on the weekend, in which the radical leftist coalition Syriza is seen as the favourite. If the ECB does launch a programme that excludes Greece this would be the first step towards the disintegration of the Eurozone or the start of Greece's farewell to the euro."
ECB can't save monetary union on its own
The markets and the politicians in Europe's crisis countries have been waiting for a government bond purchasing programme for a long time. The liberal daily Le Libre Belgique dampens hopes that the ECB chief will be able to work wonders: "Certain top economists believe Mario Draghi has been too heavily influenced by Germany's demands and taken far too long to act. And, they say, this will compromise the impact of his shock therapy, which is unprecedented in the ECB's history. ... Apart from monetary concerns, the true problem ailing Europe is a lack of confidence: to consume, invest or hire staff, in short to make plans for the future. The effects of austerity, the rise in unemployment which will have devastating repercussions for our youths, the rise of nationalist tendencies - all of this only worsens the mood. ... Unfortunately for the heads of state and government who no doubt expect too much of him, Mario Draghi is no miracle worker."
Draghi and Tsipras help Europe out of crisis
If the ECB Governing Council decides to start buying government bonds and the left-wing coalition Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras win the Greek elections on Sunday the Eurozone could finally emerge from the crisis, the liberal weekly Die Zeit suspects: "Tsipras's popularity is down to the fact that he doesn't belong to the political class that ruined the country. And that's the big opportunity. ... Because a government that burdens the masses while leaving the privileged upper class in peace discredits itself morally too. If Tsipras manages to tax the rich Greeks at last and deploy their assets in fighting the crisis he will be celebrated all over Europe for it. ... And Draghi and the ECB? The Eurozone will only emerge from the crisis if the southern countries return to growth. The Central Bank will help them do this. Notwithstanding all the criticism from Germany the ECB is acting true to its name: Europeanly."