June 2, 2010
The Bundesbank isn’t exactly happy about the ECB’s decision to start bying government bonds directly from banks – effectively making the once heralded ‘independent’ bank a dumping ground for bad eurozone loans. The ECB has bought some €25 billion worth of Greek bonds so far.
Spiegel reported over the weekend that Bundesbank officials have openly expressed their suspicions that the entire operation is a French stitch-up – a way for French banks to unload their Greek junk bonds. German banks aren’t benefiting from the move since they’ve promised the German Finance Ministry to keep Greek bonds until May 2013.
One high ranking official is cited by the magazine suggesting that ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, a French national, gave into pressure from French President Nicolas Sarkozy to change the ECB’s stance opposing the purchase of member state governments’ bonds – hence the conspiracy charge.
The ECB and the Bundesbank appear to be drifting further apart. Or as Le Monde puts it today, “A perfume of divorce is floating between the Germans and the ECB”.Open Europe blog team