July 28, 2013 / 7:54 PM / 6 years ago

ECB could publish minutes of meetings soon: newspaper

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi reacts during the monthly news conference in Frankfurt, February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Central Bank (ECB) could soon publish the minutes of its Governing Council meetings, which until now have been kept secret, two of the central bank’s executive board members said, according to a German newspaper.

ECB President Mario Draghi gives a press conference after decisions on interest rates are made but the euro zone’s central bank could soon follow the example of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England in publishing minutes from the meetings, two ECB policymakers said in an interview with Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

“The minutes should include who voted for what and why,” ECB policymaker Joerg Asmussen was quoted as saying in an advance copy of an article to appear in Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

Fellow ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure told the newspaper transparency was “important for the effectiveness of monetary policy and for trust in the central bank,” adding that society called for this transparency and the ECB was the only big central bank in the world that still kept its minutes secret.

The German newspaper said publishing the minutes would be controversial because it could result in lobby groups and politicians putting more pressure on individual policymakers.

According to the newspaper, Asmussen and Coeure called for more transparency when the ECB takes over the role of supervisor for the euro zone’s 130 biggest banks.

“When supervision shifts to the EU-level, it’s in the ECB’s interest to have the greatest degree of accountability and democratic control via the European Parliament,” Asmussen said.

Before the ECB takes over the role of bank supervisor, it wants to test the quality of banks’ assets in each of the 17 euro zone countries. Asmussen and Coeure said the ECB would start assessing banks’ balance sheets at the beginning of 2014, according to the newspaper.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Diane Craft

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