Does Germany Want to Control the ECB?
As calls grow in Germany for the country to have more control over the European Central Bank (ECB), Jens Weidmann, the head of Germany's Bundesbank and an ECB governing council member, played down calls for Germany to have more voting power over other euro zone countries.
"That's not the true question that I'm asking myself. Of course we have a specific position in the euro system that I think is very useful. But that position is there and we try to convince [others] through the power of our arguments and not through the voting power in the [ECB's] governing council," Weidmann told CNBC on Tuesday.
On Monday, members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government said that Germany should have bigger voting rights on the European Central Bank's governing council because Germany contributes the most to the ECB's funds.
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There are 23 members on the ECB's governing council, comprising the heads of central banks from each of the 17 euro zone countries and six board members from the ECB.
Each member has one vote on central bank policy but the German Bundesbank contributes the most of any euro zone central bank, making up almost 19 percent of the ECB's funds, thus bearing more of the risk for euro zone bailouts, Merkel's allies argued.
Junior coalition party leader, Rainer Bruederle, said the voting system should be reformed before other states join the euro zone. ""It cannot be the case that Malta has the same voting power as Germany, for example," he said.
Weidmann empathized with the discussions over voting rights, stating that it stemmed from "from the fact that we kind of slowly blur the border between monetary policy and fiscal policy."
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"Since we redistribute the risks between taxpayers of the euro area, people ask themselves is the voting power of the Bundesbank representing 27 percent of the taxpayers that carry that risk (the German population as a percentage of the entire euro zone population). Is the voting power appropriate?"
However, he added that he didn't think a solution lay in "adjusting the voting power".
"The answer is that we should quickly revert to our core business which is monetary policy," Weidmann said.