European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has pledged to increase the transparency of the bank, suggesting yesterday that he was open to the idea of publishing minutes from its monetary policy meetings sooner rather than later.
According to a report that appeared on the Wall Street Journal yesterday, "publishing a record of ECB governing council meetings would make clear the degree of dissent among the 23-member board".
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More importantly, the Journal explained:
It could also expose how much central bankers act in the interest of their national governments, when they are supposed to represent the eurozone as a whole and be immune to political pressure.
The news comes after Draghi offered to testify before Germany's parliament to explain the bank's latest bond-buying initiative aimed at stabilising the euro.
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Since it was set up in 1998, the ECB, who has earned a reputation of strong central bank independence, said it would make minutes of its council meetings public only after 30 years have passed - which in essence means the public will have to wait until 2028 to discover what was said at the bank's inaugural meeting in Frankfurt.
But the argument in favour of confidentiality is that 17 members of 23-member governing council are also the heads of their respective national central banks.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Erkki Liikanen, president of Finland's central bank told the German daily Hendelsblatt on Monday that he would, however, support greater transparency given the controversy over the ECB's unlimited bond buying plan.
"We should publish the minutes of the ECB council meetings so that everyone can follow the discussion. And, not as been the practice to date, after 30 years," Liikanen said.
ECB officials often argue that the institution is already very transparent, citing its monthly press conferences, public hearings in the European parliament as well as its frequent publications.
Both the Federal Reserve and Bank of England publish minutes of their meetings, including named voting records of their governing members, with a delay of some weeks.
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