Sharon Bowles, chairwoman of the EU assembly’s economic and monetary affairs committee, berated fellow committee members after comments made by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi in a confidential meeting were leaked to the media. She also warned that committee members’ actions threatened the possibility of senior ECB officials attending future meetings.
Bloomberg reported late Monday that Draghi took part at a hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels that was intended to discuss the future of the euro and the possibility of putting together a banking union.
Because of the policy of ECB officials not to comment on policy in the week prior to meetings of the ECB Governing Council, the EU committee meeting, which was originally scheduled to be public, was changed to be private, according to a parliamentary spokesman. The next meeting scheduled for the ECB is Thursday.
However, after the meeting concluded, France’s Jean-Paul Gauzes, a European People’s Party member of the European Parliament, revealed that the ECB president had expressed his comfort with the central bank purchasing bonds with maturities up to three years. According to Gauzes, Draghi said during the confidential meeting that buying short-term bonds does not amount to state financing.
Gauzes was quoted saying, “[Draghi] thinks it’s not a violation of the treaty and you can do it under the current legal framework. He said, for example, three years is okay; 15 years, no.”