ECB changes course

The European Central Bank has announced that it will stop its controversial bond-buying programme at the end of the year. For some commentators the move is long overdue, particularly in view of Italy's new government. Others believe the ECB's loose monetary policy helped the Eurozone survive the crisis.

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Die Welt (DE) /

Just in time before the storm

Draghi's introduction of paradigmatic changes in European monetary policy comes just in time, Die Welt comments approvingly:

“Above all because in the geopolitical sphere a whole host of dark clouds are gathering, from the unresolved trade dispute with the US and Brexit to the election victory of the populists in Italy. Faced with this conflict situation the ECB is right to arm itself and secure sufficient legroom for the future. The abrasive stance of the Italian government, which in breach of all the treaties is demanding in all seriousness that the ECB waive some of its debts, should have convinced even the last ditherers that it's high time to put the politicians in their place and dissolve the unholy amalgamation of monetary and fiscal policy that has formed over the years.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Central banks must not meddle with politics

The central banks have encroached on the political sphere, and to give this practice democratic validation through the introduction of new rules won't improve the situation, Corriere del Ticino criticises:

“This would not be the right solution but simply an alleviating measure that would create other problems in an already highly confusing situation. Instead, the central banks should be put in their natural place. That means giving them the sole task of protecting the currency's value, with full independence. As for the rest (bailing out public institutions and companies, the economic situation, etc.), the governments must fulfil their responsibilities and solve the problems through hard work without being tempted by the siren song of a loose monetary policy.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Draghi did the right thing

The ECB has contributed to Europe's stability, Der Standard writes in praise:

“No one knows how the situation in the Eurozone would have developed if the guardians of the currency had done as Germany advised them to do. But there are many indications that Draghi has contributed to Europe's stabilisation. As a result of ECB policy, the euro's value against other currencies has dropped. This has helped exporters from Austria, Italy and other euro countries. ... The ECB has also kept the cost of loans for companies in southern Europe low. This, in turn, has made investing in the south more attractive again. The main objective of the central bank's measures was to boost inflation. If prices don't go up or even drop, the risk of companies ceasing to invest grows. The crisis then becomes permanent. This danger has now for the most part been banished.”

L'Echo (BE) /

Europe's division now reflected in ECB

For L'Echo the ECB is in a "slow hurry" that shows just how divided the institution is

“between on the one side the defenders of a strict monetary policy aimed at combatting inflation, which rose to 1.9 percent - the official target - last month, and those who back a more flexible monetary policy that supports Eurozone growth on the other. This division reflects the political tensions between Germany, a partisan of strict budgetary rules, and the countries of Southern Europe, which call for greater flexibility. This division within the ECB, which long looked like the institution that best embodied Europe, shows that we still have a very long way to go before the member states of the Eurozone are finally reconciled.”