The FINANCIAL -- German Finance
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Friday the European Central Bank was
not financing sovereign debt with its newly-announced plan to buy
sovereign bonds of struggling eurozone members.
"It's not the beginning of monetary financing of sovereign debt," Schaeuble told reporters in Stockholm, bashing the German media as "very nervous" in its criticism of the ECB's decision taken Thursday.
At one of the most highly anticipated meetings in its history, the ECB's governing council agreed on a new programme to buy unlimited amounts of heavily indebted countries' sovereign bonds in a bid to bring down their borrowing costs.
Schaeuble, who was in Stockholm for a seminar on economic growth, defended the ECB's independence, recalling that "as a finance minister, you never comment decisions of the ECB."
"We have an independent European Central Bank and we trust this central bank," he said, adding: "If the European Central Bank is a tool for policymakers, then the battle is lost."
"The ECB is responsible for monetary policy, and the mandate of the ECB is clearly limited to monetary policy. And the decision that the ECB takes is in the framework of monetary policy, nothing else. It's fine. They know very well what they have to do," he stressed.
As EUbusiness reported, European leaders broadly welcomed the bond-buying plan but Germany's media lashed out at it, echoing the German central bank's criticism.
Schaeuble accused the media of sensationalising the issue, saying "It's good for the headlines."