Exclusive: Central bankers to challenge Draghi on ECB leadership style

Tue Nov 4, 2014 10:18am EST
 
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By Eva Taylor and Paul Taylor

FRANKFURT/PARIS (Reuters) - National central bankers in the euro area plan to challenge European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Wednesday over what they see as his secretive management style and erratic communication and will urge him to act more collegially, ECB sources said.

The bankers are particularly angered that Draghi effectively set a target for increasing the ECB's balance sheet immediately after the policy-making governing council explicitly agreed not to make any figure public, the sources said.

"This created exactly the expectations we wanted to avoid," an ECB insider said. "Now everything we do is measured against the aim of increasing the balance sheet by a trillion (euros)... He created a rod for our own backs."

Irritation among national governors who hold a majority on the 24-member council could limit Draghi's space for bolder policy action in the coming months as the bank faces crucial choices about whether to buy sovereign bonds to combat falling inflation and economic stagnation.

Some members intend to raise their concerns with Draghi at the governors' traditional informal working dinner on Wednesday before their formal monthly rate-setting meeting on Thursday, the sources interviewed by Reuters said.

Many people at the central bank, which manages a single currency for 18 European Union member states, welcomed Draghi's greater informality when he took over from Jean-Claude Trichet of France in 2011. His efforts to keep meetings short, delegate and brainstorm more, were received as a breath of fresh air.

However, as decisions to loosen monetary policy and resort to further unconventional measures have become more contentious, insiders say the Italian ECB chief has acted increasingly on his own or with just a handful of trusted aides, sidelining even key heads of department.

"Mario is more secretive... and less collegial. The national governors sometimes feel kept in the dark, out of the loop," said one veteran ECB insider.   Continued...

 
Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), addresses the media during the ECB's monthly news conference in Frankfurt in this September 4, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files