Draghi smirk

The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, and his top staff should be banned from the elusive ‘Group of 30’, a club of the financial elite, with central bankers and CEOs of private banks participating, according to the European Ombudsman. The independence of the European Central Bank is at risk, as membership of the closed group “undermines public confidence” in the leadership of the central bank. Dennis de Jong, co-chair for the Integrity intergroup of the European Parliament: “It is unbelievable that Mr. Draghi thinks rules against conflicts of interest do not apply to him. This fits in with the general impression of the European Central Bank lacking transparency and accountability, an issue which we shall shortly deal with in the Budget Control Committee of the European Parliament.”

Not the first time, either

In the wake of the financial crisis the bailouts of private banks by public central banks has aroused suspicion by large parts of the public. The Group of 30 meetings are private and no minutes are available to the public. Already in 2015 the European Ombudsman asked for clarification what the status of this meeting was with regard to ECB policy, after ECB member Benoit Coeure disclosed market-sensitive information to investors at a closed-door event. “For the ECB to allow this perception to arise over several years constitutes maladministration on its part”, according to the Ombudsman.

This inquiry of the Ombudsman was started by a complaint of Corporate Europe Observatory. One of the recommendations is for the ECB to follow the same transparency rules as for other meetings between ECB officials and the banking industry. The ECB has three months to reply, until 15th of April 2018. Read more at the site of the Ombudsman: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/press/release.faces/en/88696/html.bookmark. And you can find the full list of recommendations here: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/cases/recommendation.faces/en/88592/html.bookmark

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