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Procedura : 2019/2129(INI)
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Dokument w ramach procedury : A9-0016/2020

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PV 11/02/2020 - 8
CRE 11/02/2020 - 8

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Wtorek, 11 lutego 2020 r. - Strasburg Wersja poprawiona

8. Europejski Bank Centralny – raport roczny 2018 (debata)
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la relazione di Costas Mavrides, a nome della commissione per i problemi economici e monetari, sulla relazione annuale della Banca centrale europea per il 2018 (2019/2129(INI)) (A9-0016/2020).

Do la parola subito al relatore, onorevole Mavrides, e saluto per la loro presenza in Aula la signora Lagarde e il Commissario Dombrovskis.


  Costas Mavrides, Rapporteur. – Mr President, this report reflects the well-established relationship between the European Parliament and the ECB. In fact, such a report is the main instrument for expressing our views towards ECB policies for maintaining price stability and strengthening the eurozone economies, thereby leading to a higher degree of real economic convergence.

The timing is important. This report is the first of the new legislative term and following the election of the new ECB President. And, of course, like the President has said, we are very glad to have you here today with us, Ms Lagarde. The report focuses on the review of the current ECB policies, future monetary policy, actions against climate change, and a stronger global role for the euro.

Regarding the monetary policy actions of the ECB in 2018 and their impact on the euro area economy, we welcome the ECB’s role in safeguarding euro stability. The non-standard monetary policy measures put in place by the ECB contributed to economic recovery, to an improvement in financing conditions and to compressing yields across a wide range of asset classes. We also stress that the very low or negative interest rates offer opportunities to consumers, companies (including SMEs), workers and borrowers who can benefit from stronger economic momentum, lower unemployment and lower borrowing costs. At the same time, we ask the ECB to keep monitoring potential risks to its balance sheets, asset price inflation, disadvantages to savers and the potential impact on pension and insurance schemes. However, we are concerned that after a short economic recovery, euro area growth momentum has slowed to 1.1% of GDP in the euro area, and therefore we note the need to maintain both the liquidity conditions and a degree of monetary accommodation. Recognising the sustainable growth cannot be achieved by monetary policy alone. We underline that supportive fiscal policy is also necessary.

We also agree with ECB President Christine Lagarde’s statement that a review of the ECB’s monetary policy framework is timely and warranted, and we stress that this should be done by organising a public consultation and involving Parliament. An important point also raised in this report is the finding of the European System of Central Banks Expert Group on low wage growth, stating the disconnect between wage growth and labour market recovery ceteris paribus. Accordingly, the unemployment rate in August 2019 stood at 6.2% in the EU and 7.4% in the euro area, the lowest since July 2008. But this drop in unemployment has not been reflected in wage growth.

Two words strengthening the role of the euro area. It requires the right structural conditions, including the deepening of the European Monetary Union, the completion of the Banking Union with the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and the completion of the Capital Market Union. Special emphasis is given to the fight against climate change and the implementation of the Paris Agreement. We stress that the ECB is bound by the Paris Agreement on climate change and this should be reflected by implementing the environmental, social and governance principle into its policies.

We underline other aspects interrelated with ECB policies regarding Brexit, the Capital Markets Union, crypto-assets, the need to increase monitoring and to have a comprehensive regulatory framework, the importance of micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the EU and their access to credit, more efforts to ensure the financing of the real economy and much more.

On accountability, we welcome the increasing accountability under the Presidency of Mario Draghi and we express our will for even greater accountability, dialogue and openness with the current President.

A final point. It is essential to formulate our monetary policy but also to communicate it to our citizens, as they need to understand the importance and the impact of those policies on their lives. I would like to thank all the shadow rapporteurs for their constructive and fruitful collaboration during the negotiations, and I do believe that the European Parliament and the ECB have a common objective. This was my primary objective when I drafted this report – to improve the lives of our citizens by achieving real economic convergence and to strengthen the role of the EU as it is our common home.


  Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. – Mr President, Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis, rapporteur Mavrides, honourable Members of the European Parliament, I am delighted to participate for the first time in a plenary session and to discuss your draft resolution on the ECB’s Annual Report for 2018.

Independence and accountability are two sides of the same coin for the ECB, and one will not exist without the other. This is why the ECB’s relationship with the European Parliament is so important. The ECB’s Annual Report is a central element of this relationship, and Parliament’s resolution and the subsequent feedback we publish are evidence of the good dialogue between our two institutions.

Having only joined the ECB almost to the day 100 days ago, I read the draft resolution with particular interest. What struck me in particular was our shared assessment of many of the challenges facing the ECB and the euro area. I felt exactly the same as I was listening to you, Mr Mavrides. Indeed, the universal nature of these challenges underscores the need for our continued dialogue.

Today, I would like to focus on two of the overarching concerns that stand out from the draft resolution. Number one, the role of monetary policy in the current economic environment and, number two, the structural challenges facing the euro area economy.

Euro area growth momentum has been slowing down since the start of 2018, largely on account of global uncertainties and weaker international trade. Moderating growth has also weakened pressure on prices, and inflation remains some distance below our medium-term aim.

Against this background, the ECB’s Governing Council has acted in a determined fashion to achieve price stability, which is the mandate that we have under the ECB Treaty. The ECB’s monetary policy since 2014 relies on four elements: a negative policy rate, asset purchases, forward guidance, and targeted lending operations. These measures have helped to preserve favourable lending conditions, support the resilience of the domestic economy and – most importantly in the recent period – shield the euro area economy from global headwinds.

Our policy stimulus has supported economic growth, resulting in more jobs and higher wages for euro area citizens. As you just mentioned, Mr Mavrides, euro area unemployment, at 7.4%, is at its lowest level since May 2008. Wages, as you have mentioned as well, increased at an average rate of 2.5% in the first three quarters of 2019, significantly above their long-term average. 2.5%.

But monetary policy cannot, and should not, be the only game in town. The longer our accommodative measures remain in place, the greater the risk that side effects will become more pronounced. We are fully aware that the low interest rate environment has a bearing on savings income, asset valuation, risk-taking and house prices. We are closely monitoring possible negative side effects to ensure that they do not outweigh the positive impact of our measures on credit conditions, job creation and wage income. Such reflections played a role, for example, when the Governing Council decided to introduce a new regime for remunerating the excess reserves held by banks with the Eurosystem, the famous clearing system that we introduced.

Other policy areas – notably fiscal measures and structural polices – also have to play their part. These policies can boost productivity growth and lift growth potential, thereby underpinning the effectiveness of our measures. Indeed, when interest rates are low, fiscal policy can be highly effective: it can support euro area growth momentum, which in turn intensifies price pressures and eventually leads to higher interest rates. The European Green Deal and national initiatives to finance the ecological transition could add to these dynamics by contributing to stronger and more sustainable growth.

The European Parliament’s draft resolution on the ECB’s Annual Report highlights three structural developments affecting the ECB’s operating environment: digitalisation, climate change and the institutional architecture of Economic and Monetary Union. I would like to use the remaining time that I have to discuss very briefly these three challenges.

Digitalisation and climate change were not made in Europe. They are global phenomena. They will not wait for us to gear up and get ready; they will affect us whether we are ready or not. So we need to prepare as best we can. In this spirit, the ECB is assessing the potential and implications of technological developments for payment services and financial stability, and it is also making an active contribution to such innovations.

To this end, we set up a Eurosystem task force in January to investigate the opportunities and challenges associated with different potential designs for a central bank digital currency and to test how they would work in practice. In particular, we want to assess whether a central bank digital currency could serve a clear purpose for the public and support the ECB’s objectives. Together with five other central banks and the Bank for International Settlements, we will share experiences in this area and assess the potential cross-border use of such digital currencies.

We also have to gear up on climate change – and not only because we care as citizens of this world. Like digitalisation, climate change affects the context in which central banks operate. So we increasingly need to take these effects into account in central banks’ policies and operations.

The ECB has already moved in this direction. First, we are working to extend our knowledge about the economic impact of climate change and ensure that its effects are better reflected in our economic analyses, in our models and in our forecasting methods. Second, through its financial stability tasks, the ECB is monitoring systemic risks stemming from climate change and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. This work will ultimately enable us to test how well the euro area banking sector is able to withstand climate-related risks.

Finally, the ECB has taken steps to align its own investment decisions with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This is so in our staff pension fund, for instance, where we decided to switch to a low-carbon index, and we are investigating what else we can do in our market operations.

The strategy review launched by the ECB’s Governing Council last month will also take stock of how rapid digitalisation and the threat to environmental sustainability – together with globalisation and evolving financial structures – have further transformed the environment in which monetary policy operates. The strategy review will consider all aspects of the ECB’s policy framework. We need to reflect on how we can best deliver on the ECB price stability mandate for the benefit of all European citizens. As part of this process, we will consult with the public and listen to their views, expectations and concerns with an open mind.

We will indeed also work very closely with those in your Parliament who are directly interested and concerned about those particular matters and we have begun that journey.

While I have thus far focused on the ECB, it is important to recognise that digitalisation and climate change are universal developments that affect all of us in Europe and worldwide. But Europe is uniquely positioned to master these challenges. Building on common safeguards and competitive incentives, the Single Market offers enormous potential for economic modernisation. Europe can harness this potential in its quest to design effective and affordable responses to the challenges at hand.

But an important pillar of Europe’s response to an increasingly globalised world – Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) – should not be forgotten in the process. And the role of the European Parliament, as co-legislator, in getting our response right cannot be understated.

Over recent years, the euro area’s architecture has evolved substantially. But as you know, some essential elements are still missing or are incomplete, hampering its ability to deliver its full potential for euro area citizens. This is why the ECB has been advocating and will continue to make the case for a more complete EMU: Economic and Monetary Union.

Very quickly, I will remind you of what I mean by that. It is a full banking union underpinned by a common deposit insurance scheme; it’s a true capital markets union that channels investment to innovative and productive uses; and it is a central stabilisation function as a common line of defence in case and when we have shocks. A more resilient Economic and Monetary Union with these elements would not just help to protect our living standards from adverse domestic and global developments. It would also support Europe’s influence in the world, including by making the euro more attractive worldwide.

Let me close by highlighting the joint nature of the challenges. What I have discussed will require all parties to do their bit to enable Europe to perform at its best for all of its citizens. This includes the ECB, which within its mandate is ready to play its part. As I said at the beginning, the universal nature of these challenges also underscores the need for continued dialogue between the ECB and the European Parliament. In this spirit, I am very much looking forward to the exchange that we will have during the rest of this afternoon.


  Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, it’s a pleasure to be here today to discuss with you and with Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), the very timely report on the ECB annual report.

By a coincidence of the calendar, the European Central Bank launched a review of its monetary policy strategy on 23 January, the day of adoption of the report at committee level. I would like to thank the rapporteur, Costas Mavrides, and the members of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) for their work.

The Commission largely shares the general lines of the report. We concur with the view that the ECB’s statutory independence in the conduct of monetary policy is crucial to the objective of safeguarding price stability.

Today’s debate reinforces this independence in that it bridges political independence and democratic accountability. Like the report, the Commission considers that monetary policy alone, which is an ECB competence, is not sufficient to achieve sustainable growth and price stability. The euro area economy should also be supported by a mix of growth—friendly structural reforms and by appropriately-differentiated fiscal policy. This is all the more important as the European economy, while continuing to expand, has entered a period of more subdued growth. This is linked to the less-supportive external environment, ongoing structural shifts and high uncertainty, for instance regarding trade policies.

Let me make specific reference to a couple of points in the report that are relevant to the Commission’s political agenda. First, the Commission has made the transition to a climate—neutral economy a priority with the European Green Deal. The European Green Deal will make consistent use of several policy levers: regulation and standardisation, investment and innovation, national reforms, dialogue with social partners and international cooperation.

In the context of the European Green Deal, we agree with the ECB’s conclusion that climate—change—related financial stability risks hold the potential to become systemic for the euro area, in particular if markets are not pricing these risks correctly. We will soon launch a consultation on the next steps on the sustainable finance agenda. Our aim is to develop a renewed sustainable finance strategy by early autumn which, among other things, will aim to improve the way climate and environmental risks are managed and integrated into the financial system. We will also establish the EU Green Bond standard and explore how it can increase public and private finance for sustainable investments.

The review of our own economic governance framework will, just like the ECB strategic review, look into the effectiveness of our rules in delivering on its key objectives. Debt sustainability remains important, as financial stability is a pre-condition for growth and job creation. But we will also encourage broad debate on the framework in order to make it more efficient.

Second, we welcome the call for swift completion of the Capital Markets Union and the Banking Union, including setting up a European deposit insurance scheme. A strong monetary union is key to fostering the international role of the euro. In this respect, we welcome Parliament’s encouragement to work with the ECB and all relevant stakeholders on those projects.

The Commission has started technical work on crisis management and insolvency law. This is an important avenue to be further considered to complete our crisis management framework and help make progress towards a steady—state Banking Union.

Third, I would like to underline the importance of our work on payments and crypto-assets. I would like to thank the ECB for their crucial work on payment infrastructure. This is essential to make instant payments in Europe a reality. I also welcome that the ECB and other central banks are looking at the potential of central bank digital currency and are engaging with European payment actors to bring about faster, more efficient and cheaper payments.

I have no doubt that today’s debate will be very fruitful, and I trust that you will confirm the constructive engagement that has developed between the European Parliament and the ECB over the past years.


  Markus Ferber, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Präsidentin, Herr Vizepräsident, liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen! Zunächst einmal ein ganz herzliches Dankeschön, dass Sie heute zum ersten Mal in Ihrer Funktion als Präsidentin der Europäischen Zentralbank zu uns gekommen sind. Sie lösen damit auch ein Versprechen ein, das Sie uns im Ausschuss für Wirtschaft und Währung gegeben haben, sich nicht nur um die Geldwertstabilität zu kümmern, was ja Ihr Mandat ist, sondern auch einen intensiven Dialog mit der Öffentlichkeit zu führen, und das über diesen Resonanzboden des Europäischen Parlaments. Dafür ein herzliches Dankeschön.

Ihr Vorgänger, der auch regelmäßig hier erschienen ist, hat mit seinen geldpolitischen Maßnahmen sicherlich einen Beitrag dazu geleistet, Zeit zu kaufen, die die Mitgliedstaaten hätten nutzen sollen, um ihrerseits entsprechende Vorbereitungen auch für schwierigere Zeiten zu treffen. Sie haben jetzt angekündigt, eine neue geldpolitische Strategie vorzulegen und zu diskutieren, und ich hoffe, dass in der Phase, in der diese Diskussion innerhalb der Zentralbank stattfindet, geldpolitische Entscheidungen nicht auf Eis gelegt sind, sondern Sie trotzdem in der Lage sind, aktuell zu reagieren, denn Ihr eigener Finanzstabilitätsbericht weist ja mittlerweile doch auf eine Reihe von Problemen hin, mit denen wir es aufgrund dieser langen Phase von niedrigen Zinsen zu tun haben, mit denen wir konfrontiert sind.

Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar, dass Sie heute das Thema angesprochen haben, über eine eigene Digitalwährung nachzudenken. Ich sage Ihnen ganz offen: Wir als EVP haben lieber eine Digitalwährung der EZB als eine von Facebook, und in dem Sinne haben Sie unsere Unterstützung.




  Jonás Fernández, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señor presidente, presidenta, vicepresidente, en primer lugar, quiero agradecer los nuevos prismas, los nuevos aires que la presidenta del BCE ha traído a esta Cámara y ha traído al Banco Central Europeo. Pero me gustaría insistir en que aún estamos lejos de cumplir con el mandato de la institución —que, además, los agregados monetarios, la evolución del crédito, no apuntan hacia el cumplimiento rápido del objetivo de situar la inflación cerca del 2 %— y, por lo tanto, dentro de la independencia de la institución, me gustaría insistir en la necesidad de nuevos instrumentos, de nuevas políticas, para poder situar la inflación cerca de su objetivo.

Por otra parte, me gustaría también recomendarle o pedirle que pida un apoyo sincero desde el lado fiscal para ayudarla a usted a cumplir con el objetivo de inflación. Y celebro el inicio de esa revisión estratégica, que debería ser algo más que un retoque en la metodología del índice de inflación, para introducir nuevos objetivos, nuevos instrumentos, nueva comunicación —como usted quiere— en el trabajo del BCE.


  Luis Garicano, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, I would like to thank Mr Dombrovskis and to welcome Madame Lagarde. It is really great to have her here.

First of all, I would like to thank Mr Costas Mavrides for his excellent work on the report. As you see in the report, Madame Lagarde, we are worried about the incompleteness of our banking union. I’m glad to hear Mr Dombrovskis say that the Commission’s work programme is going to push in this direction.

We share very much the views that you expressed about what the priorities are, Madame Lagarde. We think that the ‘doom loop’ is alive and well. We think that it is still the case that, if we have a big bank fail, there will only really be states behind that bank and that our construction will not be sufficient. Because we have done a banking union that was supposed to consist of three pillars.

The first pillar, which is supervision, is in place. The second pillar, which is resolution, is kind of in place, but not really in office – ‘in office but not in power’ I guess is a better way to put it. It is not really acting to resolve most situations and most banks which are failing. The third pillar, as Madame Lagarde has pointed out, the deposit insurance, is not yet there.

We believe that we need a banking union that cuts this knot between the banks and the states. We think that we need this principle of bail—in, rather than bail-out, to be enforced. And that means that the Commission has a lot of work to do.

We will support that work and will really encourage you. We realise that it is politically difficult. I think the Parliament is ready to come behind a solution and I ask Madame Lagarde for your support. And Mr Dombrovskis for your work on this, thank you very much.


  Gunnar Beck, im Namen der ID-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, verehrte Anwesende, sehr geehrte Frau Präsidentin! Mit diesem Jahresbericht huldigt dieses Haus Mario Draghi. Die EZB schaffe Wachstum und Beschäftigung, nur die Inflation müsse steigen, deshalb werde weiter Geld gedruckt. Draghi hat fürwahr mehr Geld gedruckt als irgendwer, irgendwann, irgendwo seit 1925. Die EZB druckte 40 % der Wirtschaftsleistung, Fed und Bank of England nur 25 % und 15 %, und freudiger als Draghi brach noch niemand EU—Recht. 2009 war die Wirtschaft der EU deutlich größer als die US-Wirtschaft. Auch die Finanzkrise traf die USA härter.

Dann kam Draghi, und 2018 hatte die EU weiter mehr Menschen, aber die kleinere Wirtschaft. Die Jugendarbeitslosigkeit in Südeuropa beträgt bis zu 35 % – welch ein Erfolg bei immer weniger Jugendlichen! In Deutschland schmelzen Erspartes und Altersversorgung dahin wie die Gletscher im Sommer. Draghi hinterlässt verbrannte Erde. Wem zum Nutzen? Erstens den Großvermögenden, die weiter das Ihre mehren, und zweitens den unverantwortlichen Regierungen, denn ohne Draghis Negativzinsen könnte sich Frau Merkel ihre Weltrettungsfantasien gar nicht leisten.


  Stasys Jakeliūnas, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I’d like to thank Mr Mavrides, the rapporteur, for working and putting together all the different opinions of the different groups, and putting that into a future vision for the ECB and for us here, at Parliament.

Let me highlight a couple points in addition to what was already said.

Madame Lagarde, when we asked you about the Central Bank digital currencies at the ECON hearing, you responded that we need to ‘rush slowly’ and welcome you elaborating on that here. Mr Dombrovskis also concurred. That means that the importance of this project is well understood, and I think that it will be supported by Parliament here.

The second point I would like to mention is probably the need to renew discussion on the financial sector supervision architecture. It remains very fragmented in the European Union with four models or so being used, and the mandates of the European institutions either overlapping or not very clear. If we are very serious about the banking union, capital markets union, etc., if we want the financial sector – which is a significant part of the economic infrastructure – to work for people, we need to revitalise discussion on that. I would welcome your participation in that discussion too. The European Commission, and we at the European Parliament, would be ready to contribute to revitalising that discussion.


  Johan Van Overtveldt, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, Madame Lagarde, I think price stability was and remains the primary objective of the ECB. You cannot have price stability without financial stability; financial stability is a precondition for price stability. Now what do we see in the world and in Europe today? Extreme low interest rates, strongly-reduced credit spreads, softened credit terms, feverish mergers and acquisition activity, high levels of speculative IPOs, spectacular growth of shadow banking, equity valuations totally out of line with historic price-earnings ratios, and USD 15 trillion of negative-yielding debt. I think it’s fair to say, if you see those eight developments all together, that financial stability is under a lot of pressure – and that’s an understatement. Unconventional monetary policies have been contributing to these developments and so should really be, basically, fundamentally reconsidered.


  Δημήτριος Παπαδημούλης, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας GUE/NGL. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κυρία Lagarde, σας καλωσορίζουμε στην ολομέλεια, όπως και εσάς, κύριε Dombrovskis. Νομίζω ότι ο μεγάλος ένοχος γι’ αυτά που κάνουν το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο να ανησυχεί είναι απών από αυτήν τη συζήτηση. Το μεγάλο φρένο σε αυτά που πρέπει να κάνουμε είναι το Συμβούλιο· είναι οι κυβερνήσεις. Εκεί μπλοκάρει η ολοκλήρωση της τραπεζικής ενοποίησης και ο τρίτος πυλώνας, κύριε Garicano· στο Συμβούλιο. Γιατί η Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα ζητάει το EDIS, η Επιτροπή το προτείνει και στο Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο η πλειοψηφία το θέλει. Και ο κίνδυνος δεν είναι μόνον η οικονομική επιβράδυνση. Ο κίνδυνος είναι μια νέα οικονομική κρίση, κυρία Lagarde.

Δέκα χρόνια μετά την κρίση που ξέσπασε στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες, οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες έχουν ανακάμψει και εμείς ακόμη συζητάμε το ενισχυμένο πλαίσιο της οικονομικής διακυβέρνησης που θα βαθύνει την οικονομική πολιτική και τη νομισματική ενοποίηση και θα καταστήσει την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και την ευρωζώνη πιο ισχυρές. Και αυτό λείπει. Όπως λείπουν και τα χρηματοδοτικά μέσα για να υλοποιηθεί το Green Deal. Διότι —και πάλι— το Συμβούλιο θέλει να περικόψει τον οικονομικό προϋπολογισμό για το νέο πολυετές πλαίσιο, σε αντίθεση με το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο που ζητάει περισσότερα χρήματα για να μειωθούν οι ανισότητες, για να επενδύσουμε στην αντιμετώπιση της κλιματικής κρίσης, για να κρατήσουμε την πολιτική συνοχής και για να φύγουμε μπροστά με επενδύσεις στην καινοτομία. Επομένως, η έκθεση του κυρίου Μαυρίδη είναι μια ευκαιρία για να δούμε τι πρέπει να αλλάξει για να συμπαρασύρουμε και αυτούς που βάζουν φρένο.


  Márton Gyöngyösi (NI). – Mr President, as the report quite rightly points out, the euro is more than just an economic and monetary instrument. It is a symbolic issue, hence a political project too. But if we want to see the euro as a global reserve currency and stand competition, then we have to deal with the root of the problem, and the root of the weaknesses that are mentioned in the report.

The long-term stability of the euro as a currency depends on whether the European Central Bank can tackle the geographic differences and the structural nature of differences that persist between Member States of the European Union and that manifest themselves in extraordinary wage differences between old and new Member States. These imbalances have a detrimental social effect, not only in growth and in competitiveness but in youth unemployment and in extreme labour migration across the European continent.

As you quite rightly pointed out, Ms Lagarde, not only monetary instruments but fiscal instruments and cohesion policy must be taken into consideration and the fight against corruption must be taken on board to close the wage gap across the Member States of the European Union.


  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). – Mr President, I would like to wholeheartedly thank Ms Lagarde, and congratulate the European Central Bank (ECB) and its new leadership for, may I say, finally taking the climate and environmental risks as economic risks, as financial stability risks and, hopefully, also as systemic risks to be judged by the systemic risk board in the future.

I am very happy to hear that that is going to be reflected in the ECB’s strategy review, and I am looking forward to that. I hope that will be reflected in all of the ECB’s market operation that these substantial amount of financial flows we have to use either against or for the environment.

Also, I’m glad to hear that the Commission is moving rapidly with the sustainable finance package and a plea for both actors: please ensure that indicators, the metering system and the lifecycle analyses there is harmonised and, overall, used in the same methodology in different institutions so that we duly know what we are doing.


  Irene Tinagli (S&D). – Mr President, this report to the European Parliament expresses its support for the ECB’s monetary policy and recognises that the measures implemented are consistent with its mandate, and have been decisive in preserving the euro area from deflation and also in contributing to the ongoing economic recovery. I challenge anyone to prove that today we’d be better off had we adopted different policies.

But many of the challenges we face today are new and they require further innovation in the way monetary policy is conducted. Madame Lagarde, you mentioned many of those: climate change, digitalisation... I would also add economic inequalities, especially in certain areas. All of these factors will have a significant structural impact on the way the economy works. They will affect key economic variables, financial stability and the effectiveness of monetary policy.

To fulfil its mandate of delivering price stability, the ECB will better understand how the changing climate, technological innovation and economic inequalities will affect the behaviour of households, firms and financial institutions. The ECB has the analytical capacity and resources to push the frontier of knowledge on these issues and we are definitely keen to do our part.


  Stéphanie Yon-Courtin (Renew). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, Madame la Présidente Lagarde, merci de votre présence parmi nous; merci, Monsieur le rapporteur, pour votre excellent rapport.

Nous partageons, Madame, vos constats quant à une situation économique en faible croissance et aux nombreux défis qui sont à relever pour l’économie. Représentants directs des citoyens européens, nous constatons toutes ces inquiétudes sur nos territoires. La croissance modérée n’apporte finalement pas l’effet escompté sur les salaires, ni sur la consommation. Les prix du logement dans certaines régions augmentent de façon exponentielle. Plus globalement, le ralentissement de l’activité économique en Chine ou le Brexit risquent de perturber davantage l’économie.

Dans cette période d’incertitude et de transition numérique et écologique, je me réjouis de votre initiative de lancer la révision de la stratégie de politique monétaire de la BCE, qui devra intégrer tous ces changements. De nombreux chantiers sont donc à prendre en compte dans cette feuille de route de la BCE, notamment la réalisation de vrais progrès – bien réels – en matière d’équilibre hommes-femmes dans la nomination aux postes à responsabilité; l’étude de la pertinence d’une monnaie numérique BCE, certes, mais également la surveillance de l’évolution des cryptomonnaies pour lutter plus efficacement contre le blanchiment d’argent dans le financement des territoires; et des efforts visant à conférer une vraie dimension internationale à l’euro et à renforcer son rôle de monnaie de réserve.

Dans l’élaboration de cette stratégie, Madame, je me réjouis de la méthode de dialogue et d’ouverture que vous envisagez, conformément à l’engagement pris lors de votre première audition au Parlement. Je salue enfin, à ce titre, les consultations publiques que vous allez mener, dont la première fin mars à Bruxelles avec la société civile, et j’espère que nous y serons associés.


  Hélène Laporte (ID). –Monsieur le Président, Madame la Présidente, mes chers collègues, Madame, vous êtes connue pour faire preuve de sagesse en raison de votre habileté à gérer des intérêts contradictoires, un tableau qui est très flatteur, mais qui va être mis à rude épreuve à ce poste de présidente de la BCE, tout d’abord parce que la future revue de la politique monétaire, c’est un petit peu le serpent qui se mord la queue. Pour lutter contre la déflation et le chômage, votre prédécesseur, Mario Draghi, a adopté, en plus de la baisse des taux d’intérêt directeurs, des mesures non conventionnelles. Cette politique présente malheureusement les défauts de ses qualités: les taux d’intérêt négatifs sont nuisibles aux épargnants et favorisent l’émergence de bulles spéculatives, appelant une normalisation de cette politique monétaire, normalisation qui fragilise la reprise économique. Tout d’abord, comment comptez-vous sortir, entre guillemets, de cette impasse?

Par ailleurs, en dépit de votre attachement à l’indépendance la plus totale de la BCE, vous avez déclaré vouloir faire du changement climatique un sujet prioritaire pour répondre aux attentes de la Commission. En somme, une BCE plus verte, mais surtout, il faut l’admettre, plus politisée. Une orientation qui risque pourtant d’outrepasser les statuts de la BCE en empiétant sur les compétences souveraines des États membres. Comment appréhendez-vous cette contradiction?


  Sven Giegold (Verts/ALE). – Herr Präsident, Frau Lagarde! Vielen Dank für Ihre Worte hier und gut, Sie hier zu sehen. Ich möchte Sie eigentlich ebenso wie ein Vorredner auch auffordern, sich diesen Bereich der Kryptowährungen und der Chancen der Digitalisierung für neue Zahlungsverkehrsmethoden genau anzuschauen. Eine Zentralbank, die tatsächlich Bürgerinnen und Bürgern über Methoden des Internets und der Digitalwährung direkt Zugang zum Zahlungsverkehr verschafft, kann letztlich dafür sorgen, dass digitale Dienstleistungen billiger werden, und damit etwas in der öffentlichen Hand halten, wo es auch hingehört. Digitale Währungen sind kein Raum für Kriminelle wie heute, wo illegaler Zahlungsverkehr durchgeführt wird, und digitale Währungen gehören auch nicht in die Hand von transnationalen Unternehmen. Daher bieten Sie doch hier einen echten Vorteil für die Bürgerinnen und Bürger, indem Sie selber elektronisches Geld auf den Weg bringen, mit der Sicherheit der Zentralbank und den neuen Technologien, die uns zur Verfügung stehen. Ich hoffe, das nehmen Sie mit auf den Weg.


  Piernicola Pedicini (NI). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Presidente Lagarde, noi non voteremo a favore di questa risoluzione del Parlamento sulla relazione annuale della BCE perché non bastano le buone intenzioni di voler combattere i cambiamenti climatici per assolvere la BCE dal fallimento nelle azioni di sostegno all'economia reale. Perché non basta la scusa delle incertezze internazionali della Brexit per giustificare il calo improvviso del PIL che c'è stato nell'area euro tra il 2018 e il 2019 ma non in quegli Stati dell'Unione che non hanno adottato l'euro.

Le misure non convenzionali poi sono state l'ennesimo rifinanziamento alle banche, agli istituti bancari, ma le famiglie e le imprese non hanno visto un euro di quel denaro. Denaro che la BCE ha anche prelevato dagli Stati membri più indebitati per distribuirlo agli Stati più ricchi e per darlo alle banche piene di derivati e piene di crediti deteriorati. È per questo che la produzione industriale è calata vertiginosamente in questi anni e adesso la BCE si deve prendere la piena responsabilità di questo fallimento.


  Stefan Berger (PPE). – Herr Präsident! Frau Lagarde, ich finde es gut, dass Sie angetreten sind, einen neuen Stil in der EZB zu etablieren, dass Sie die Politik überprüfen wollen und auch neu kommunizieren und besser erklären wollen. Das ist richtig, das ist notwendig, aber wenn sich nach der Überprüfung herausstellt, dass die Politik falsch ist, dann kann sie nicht nur anders kommuniziert werden, sondern sie muss dann auch geändert werden.

Der Bericht zeigt, dass der HVPI – also der Wert, in dem Inflation gemessen wird – 1,2 % für 2019, 1 % für 2020 und 1,5 % für 2021 aufweist. Wenn das so ist, dann werden Sie Ihr Ziel von 2 % nicht erreichen. Und wenn das so ist, dann stellt sich doch die Frage, ob die EZB vielleicht ihr Ziel nicht mal in einen Korridor stellen sollte, denn wir sehen, dass nach einer Dekade Niedrigzinsen insbesondere Staaten wie die Bundesrepublik Deutschland durchaus von negativen Effekten betroffen sind. Wir sind eine Nation von Sparern mit hohen Spareinlagen bei den Banken, und das ist ein schwieriges Problem. Deswegen bitte ich Sie, diesen Punkt in ihre kritische Überprüfung mit einzubeziehen.

Letzter Satz: Die EZB möchte die Bankenunion und die europäische Einlagensicherung vorantreiben. Das ist grundsätzlich in Ordnung, aber bevor man die Einlagensicherung vorantreibt, müssen die Voraussetzungen geschaffen sein. Man schließt keine Feuerversicherung mit einem Partner ab, dessen Haus schon brennt. Ich bitte Sie, dass Sie auch das berücksichtigen.


  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, como este Parlamento já reconheceu, a intervenção do Banco Central Europeu, sob a liderança de Mário Draghi, foi essencial para corrigir os erros iniciais de resposta à crise, salvar o euro e ajudar a economia europeia a recuperar da grande recessão.

Hoje, com a nova liderança da Sr.ª Lagarde, há ventos novos, designadamente uma revisão estratégica importante para alinhar a política do BCE com os objetivos de combate às alterações climáticas e o Pacto Verde, sem prejuízo do seu mandato. Mas se o que está a mudar é importante, não menos importante é o que se mantém: uma política monetária de estímulo à economia que continua a ser necessária com o atual abrandamento económico e a necessidade de cumprir as metas de inflação confiadas ao BCE.

Enquanto os governos com margem de manobra orçamental se recusarem a contribuir com uma política orçamental mais expansionista é de uma política monetária expansionista que a zona euro continua a precisar.


  Engin Eroglu (Renew). – Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Frau Präsidentin Lagarde, sehr geehrter Herr Dombrovskis, liebe Kollegen! Ich möchte bei dem Bericht einen Fokus legen, und zwar ist das das Bargeld. Sie, Frau Lagarde, haben in letzter Zeit sehr oft darüber gesprochen, dass Sie das Vertrauen der Bürger gewinnen wollen. Das habe ich mir zu Herzen genommen und möchte Ihnen da gerne etwas auf den Weg mitgeben: Die Bürger in der Europäischen Union haben Angst vor der Abschaffung des Bargelds. Die Abschaffung des 500-Euro-Scheins ist sozusagen ein Indiz dafür. Dadurch verlieren die Bürger weiter an Vertrauen in die Europäische Union. Bargeld ist jedoch ein wichtiges Zeichen von Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit. Hinzu kommt, dass Bargeld vor Negativzinsen geschützt ist. Daher war es für mich wichtig, die Beibehaltung des Bargelds als Position des Parlaments hervorzuheben, und ich habe einen Änderungsantrag gestellt, der nunmehr auch in Nummer 75 in diesem Papier dargestellt ist. Ich möchte Ihnen gerne mitgeben, dass Sie den Bürgern sozusagen die Gewissheit geben, das Bargeld zu erhalten als vertrauensbildende Maßnahme, und aber auch, um Unabhängigkeit und Freiheit der Bürger zu gewährleisten.


  Antonio Maria Rinaldi (ID). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Presidente Lagarde, dalla lettura delle relazioni annuali della BCE vi è il costante elogio dei tassi negativi come la migliore strategia per il rilancio dell'economia dell'eurozona.

Non crede invece che il perdurare di questa politica di tassi negativi abbia avuto come effetto deleterio quello di aver messo in ginocchio le banche commerciali, il vero motore propulsivo per le piccole e medie imprese oltre che per le famiglie, riducendo ai minimi i margini d'intermediazione, quindi lo stimolo a concedere credito, paradossalmente invece favorendo le banche d'affari, proprio quelle a più forte operatività speculativa?

Inoltre, non crede che, dopo le operazioni straordinarie come il QE, che hanno aumentato il bilancio della Banca centrale europea a più di 4,65 trilioni di euro facendo esplodere la massa monetaria M3 senza tuttavia né raggiungere, se non marginalmente, l'economia reale né il target inflativo, ottenendo uno stato di deflazione permanente, sia arrivato il momento di prendere in considerazione strategie da "Helicopter money" per rilanciare i consumi, visto i dati catastrofici delle produzioni industriali registrati nell'eurozona?


  Frances Fitzgerald (PPE). – Mr President, I would like to welcome Madame Lagarde. Last week in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), you said that more attention should be given to the cost of housing and home ownership when it comes to the European Central Bank (ECB) inflation measure.

I want to welcome those comments. We just had an election in Ireland where the cost of housing was one of the main issues that dominated voters’ intentions. Serious advances have been made to address the problems but in Dublin, for example, rental prices have doubled since 2010 and property prices have gone up 85% since 2013. I think one should be putting more focus on the fact that house prices and rent rises are increasing rapidly across Europe and I think that we need to have more diverse financial instruments to deal with this. It goes back to a very important remark that you made yourself before you were appointed President of the ECB. You said the ECB needs to understand and explain to people not only the markets.

I think if we are to rebuild trust with citizens, I think your consultation project in the Member States is very important. I see that as really democracy building, very important, but I think the housing issue is crucial because if we want to keep in touch with our citizens, we need to understand properly and account for the serious issues that they face in society. I think that we really need to look at this. It’s an emerging serious social and economic issue across many, many Member States and I think it’s one where you and the ECB could have a very crucial role to play in terms of leadership and understanding and looking at alternative solutions.


  Alfred Sant (S&D). – Mr President, congratulations to my friend Costas Mavrides on an excellent report. I would also like to focus on an area which merits greater attention in my view, but from a different perspective to what has been done up to now, namely the situation of banks, big and small, in the eurozone.

We are underestimating how difficult the situation has become. Discussion of the subject is constrained because many would not like it to sound as an attack on the ECB’s monetary easing policies. True. So long as fiscal policy is not being deployed to bolster economic growth, such policies remain essential, and I agree with that. But, they’re also causing collateral damage to banks.

Other very significant factors are adding to the damage, like an overload of regulations raising operational costs. Yet, while the Capital Markets Union is being promoted in Europe, the reliance on banks for business financing has grown. Banks are curtailing their services to cut costs and to remain profitable, with negative economic and social consequences.

It is illusory to hope that this will lead to the emergence of European champions in the banking sector. If eurozone banks retract their capillary outreach in national economies, citizens and SMEs – but not only they – will suffer.


  Roman Haider (ID). – Herr Präsident! Der vorliegende Bericht ist gelinde gesagt eine Verhöhnung des Europäischen Parlaments. Dieser Bericht ist geradezu ein Paradebeispiel für Schönfärberei einerseits und Vertuschung andererseits. Das leichte Wirtschaftswachstum in der Eurozone wird als Ergebnis der fatalen Niedrigzinspolitik dargestellt, obwohl es dafür überhaupt keine Anhaltspunkte gibt. Die enormen Verluste, die die Sparer in der Eurozone erleiden müssen – kein Wort in diesem Bericht. Die immer höheren Risiken, die institutionelle Anleger, wie etwa die Pensionskassen, nehmen müssen – nicht in diesem Bericht. Die Überhitzung der Finanzmärkte durch die lockere Geldpolitik – nicht in diesem Bericht. Die durch die Geldpolitik verursachte steigende soziale Ungleichheit – kein Wort dazu in diesem Bericht. Die durch die Geldpolitik verursachten ausufernden Staatsschulden in der Eurozone – kein Wort in diesem Bericht. Mich erinnert dieser Bericht an die Berichte im kommunistischen Ostblock. Darin stand auch immer nur das, was die Parteiführung wollte, und wozu das geführt hat, das wissen wir alle sattsam.


  Aurore Lalucq (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, je remercie Mme Lagarde d’être avec nous.

Vous avez choisi, Madame, de poursuivre une politique monétaire dite d’assouplissement quantitatif pour soutenir l’activité économique, et nous sommes nombreux dans cette maison à avoir reçu cette annonce avec un certain soulagement car, du fait des égoïsmes nationaux et de l’idéologie dominante sur ce continent, nous n’avons malheureusement toujours pas de budget réel, ce qui est absolument incroyable et inconcevable pour la première puissance économique mondiale. Mais cette situation fait que beaucoup repose sur vos épaules et que votre politique doit être parfaite.

Nous avons entendu énormément d’avancées dans votre discours, mais il manque encore un point, qui est celui de la spéculation. Sur ce point, je reste sur ma faim. Nous savons que les politiques d’assouplissement quantitatif ces dernières années ont certes soutenu l’économie réelle – il fallait le faire –, mais qu’elles ont aussi engendré une hypertrophie de la sphère financière, et je voudrais savoir ce que la Banque centrale européenne compte concrètement faire pour lutter contre la spéculation.


  Paul Tang (S&D). – Mr President, I would like to welcome Ms Lagarde. A fresh wind is blowing through the ECB. No public spats, but a constructive dialogue: how can we prop up eurozone growth? How can the ECB stop funding polluting activities? How can we promote gender equality among ECB decision-makers? And of course, every new job starts with credit, and the trick is: don’t waste it.

That is why, Ms Lagarde, I call upon you to make real progress now that you can. The ECB needs to get in gear to implement the EU taxonomy and avoid activities that do ‘significant harm’. Besides, you should encourage governments to invest substantially in sustainability, reaping the benefits of the low interest rate and pushing that rate upwards, and in that way restore the full potential of monetary policy. Continue confidently along this path, Ms Lagarde, and I have no doubt that the male central bankers will dance to your tune.


  Agnès Evren (PPE). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, le rapport annuel sur la Banque centrale européenne 2018 que nous voterons demain en séance plénière sera le premier document que nous vous transmettrons au nom du Parlement européen. J’espère que ces recommandations permettront de servir de base pour un dialogue fréquent avec notre commission des affaires économiques et monétaires.

Dans ce rapport, nous évoquons notamment les enjeux auxquels seront confrontées nos économies, et donc la Banque centrale européenne, dans les années à venir. En janvier, à Davos, lors du Forum économique mondial, vous avez notamment évoqué la nécessité de renforcer la cyber-résilience en Europe. Dans le top 5 des risques mondiaux pour 2020, une cyberattaque de grande ampleur aurait des conséquences considérables pour l’économie européenne.

Il est donc plus urgent que jamais de renouveler l’architecture de coopération européenne et internationale en la matière. Nous devons élaborer des stratégies communes et déployer des efforts coordonnés pour faire face aux risques créés par la transformation numérique.

L’acceptation des risques auxquels nous sommes confrontés est une première étape, mais la prochaine doit être l’action. Nous devons garantir la résistance des infrastructures des marchés financiers et promouvoir la coopération en la matière entre les banques de la zone euro. Je sais, Madame Lagarde, pouvoir compter sur votre fermeté et votre implication pour relever ce défi.


Spontane Wortmeldungen


  Γεώργιος Κύρτσος (PPE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, καταρχήν να ευχαριστήσω τον κύριο Μαυρίδη και όσους συνεργάστηκαν μαζί του για την πολύ καλή έκθεσή του, και να ευχηθώ στην κυρία Lagarde να έχει παρεμβάσεις εξαιρετικά σημαντικές —ακόμα πιο σημαντικές και από εκείνες του κυρίου Draghi— στην πορεία της. Θα ήθελα να προσθέσω δύο ερωτήσεις —σε έναν βομβαρδισμό ερωτήσεων, βέβαια.

Η πρώτη έχει σχέση με το ελληνικό τραπεζικό σύστημα. Ξέρουμε ότι από το 2018 η κατάστασή του έχει γίνει καλύτερη, αλλά θα ήθελα αν μπορεί συνοπτικά να μας πει δυο πράγματα, δηλαδή προς ποια κατεύθυνση πρέπει να κινηθούμε και πόσο γρήγορα. Υπάρχει και ένα δεύτερο θέμα, το οποίο είναι ευρύτερου ενδιαφέροντος και τέθηκε από συναδέλφους που προηγήθηκαν. Είναι φανερό ότι για να πάμε στην πράσινη μετάβαση χρειαζόμαστε πρόσθετες επενδύσεις και, όπως έλεγε ο Draghi και το 2018 αλλά και γενικότερα, πρέπει να βελτιώσουμε τη σύνθεση των δημοσίων δαπανών ώστε να τις κάνουμε περισσότερο ποιοτικές και —αν είναι δυνατόν— επενδυτικές. Θα ήθελα λοιπόν κάποιο σχόλιο και από την κυρία Lagarde.


  Margarida Marques (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, parabéns Mavrides pelo teu relatório, obrigada Senhora Lagarde. Todos sabemos que precisamos de progressos significativos na união bancária e no mercado de capitais. Até hoje esses progressos têm sido lentos e muito limitados. O terceiro pilar da União Bancária está longe de estar finalizado. Um papel fortalecido do euro precisa, antes de tudo, de vontade política. Há que completar a união económica e monetária como um instrumento orçamental capaz de responder a choques exógenos e com safe assets.

O BCE precisa de ter um papel fundamental neste debate, como precisa de ter um papel fundamental no combate às alterações climáticas. O BCE tem que trabalhar com as restantes instituições europeias e com os seus pares para fortalecer o papel do euro como moeda de reserva, nomeadamente nas instâncias internacionais onde está presente.


  Billy Kelleher (Renew). – Mr President, just to say at the outset, Madame Lagarde, I want to raise the issue of the Stability and Growth Pact and the restrictive practice that it has on European economies and their ability to invest in both the Green Deal, but in just normal fiscal stimulus that is required to stimulate the broader economies of the European Union.

And I think in that context, the EU Commission is carrying out a review of the Stability and Growth Pact in the near future, and I’m wondering whether or not the ECB will have an official role in observing that particular review and having input into that particular review. Because we have to accept that if we want to create a dynamic European economy, I believe that the Stability and Growth Pact is too restrictive on the ability of governments to invest in the economic aspects of economies across the eurozone.

Finally, I would ask that you would also look at Irish banks and the interest rates that they are charging for mortgages and small and medium-sized businesses. Bearing in mind we’re in the eurozone and our banks are charging two to three times the interest rates that the rest of Europe pays in mortgages and lending to small and medium-sized businesses.


  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). – Senhor Presidente, como aqui foi reconhecido, as prolongadas medidas não convencionais de política monetária não têm sido suficientes por si só para travar a pronunciada desaceleração económica, além de que tendem a esgotar o seu alcance.

Não sabemos quando virá o próximo pico da crise, mas sabemos que encontrará as economias da periferia da zona euro tão desprotegidas como há uma década. Com um elevado endividamento, ele próprio uma consequência da moeda única, e esgotado o alcance das medidas não convencionais ficará exposta, mais exposta, toda a sua vulnerabilidade, a vulnerabilidade destes países, presos na armadilha do euro, armadilha que impõe políticas, designadamente no plano orçamental, que trava o crescimento, esmaga o investimento e os salários, degrada o aparelho produtivo e os serviços públicos. Os mesmos que dizem ser necessária uma política orçamental favorável ao crescimento tudo fazem para impor o obstinado cumprimento de um pacto de estabilidade em versão revista e reforçada.

Eis a armadilha do euro. Dizem que é preciso aprofundá-la. O que é necessário, porém, é desmontá-la.


  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la strada verso una Unione economica e monetaria più solida è piena di questioni ancora irrisolte. Questioni che richiedono sforzi da parte di tutti per la loro soluzione. Dopo alcuni progressi timidi registrati durante la crisi, il ritmo delle riforme è totalmente rallentato. Alcuni progetti, anche se fra i meno controversi, sono stati attuati, ma una proposta fondamentale per completare l'unione bancaria come il sistema europeo di assicurazione universale dei depositi fatica ancora a procedere.

Data la persistente vulnerabilità dell'Eurozona e il completamento dell'EDIS, un pezzo fondamentale per garantire i risparmiatori con un rafforzamento delle misure di riduzione dei rischi, restano una necessità per l'Unione. Andando avanti con l'EDIS potremmo ridurre la frammentazione finanziaria, garantendo un ruolo più ampio ai capitali privati nell'ammortizzare gli shock economici e finanziari.

Ma voglio ribadirlo: insistere solo sulla riduzione del rischio come condizione preliminare per il lancio dell'EDIS è sbagliato. Non si può cercare di ridurre il rischio mettendo ponderazione, ad esempio, sui titoli di Stato. Sarebbe assurdo. Lasceremo un sistema finanziario europeo più fragile e sottoposto all'influenza dei contingenti. Dobbiamo agire subito, il prezzo da pagare sarebbe terribile per rimanere immobili.


  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, first of all, it is good to see Madame Lagarde here. I congratulate her on her appointment. And, indeed, herself and her predecessor Mr Draghi are to be congratulated on keeping the euro afloat and keeping the European economy in a stable position. Having said that, I want to ask one question in particular.

We have had an election in Ireland and one of the big issues there was in relation to housing. Mr Kelleher referred to the interest rates, but not only the interest rates, but also the rules of borrowing. We have a situation now where people who are well educated, with very good jobs, cannot afford to buy a house.

There are other issues in relation to the supply of housing, but even where the supply is available, this is causing a huge concern for them. And many people are now living with their parents because, while having been well educated, as I said, good jobs, well paid, they cannot afford to buy a house because of the rules implemented by our banks.

Can she offer some leeway in that regard and some hope to those people that what was the norm in the past can apply in the future – you have a good job, you can buy a house?


  Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D). – Señor presidente, señora presidenta Lagarde, vicepresidente Dombrovskis, yo, en primer lugar, quiero trasladar mi apoyo al informe que ha preparado Costas Mavrides, del Grupo Socialista. Creo que es muy completo y contiene los elementos esenciales.

Quizás un elemento adicional, en la línea de lo que también ha señalado el portavoz en la materia del Grupo Socialista, el señor Fernández, es la consideración de nuevos instrumentos. Yo creo que es evidente que, solamente con los tipos ultrabajos y con el programa de compras, va a ser difícil conseguir el objetivo. Es verdad que se necesita el apoyo fiscal, pero el objetivo de inflación del Banco Central Europeo es incondicional; debe tender, debe cumplir su mandato, de manera incondicional.

Tal vez este instrumento, a su consideración, podría ser una transferencia directa a los hogares de la eurozona para impulsar el consumo y alcanzar de esta manera el objetivo de cerca pero debajo del 2 %.


(Ende der spontanen Wortmeldungen)


  Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, this debate has demonstrated that there is a large convergence of views on most aspects of the report and I’m very pleased to see the common ground emerging from the views of the three institutions.

Let me conclude by mentioning the point directly concerning the Commission. Your last report encouraged the Commission and the ECB to study schemes such as a central bank digital currency and digital base money and to liaise closely. Like many central banks and institutions, the Commission and the ECB are now analysing the potential benefits and challenges associated with these schemes. Further work is needed, but these examples show that the three institutions – and this includes the European Parliament – can fruitfully interact in respect of their respective roles. So we count on your continued support in building the foundations for sustainable growth in Europe.


  Der Präsident. – Ich darf nun die Präsidentin der Europäischen Zentralbank, Frau Lagarde, ersuchen und ihr gleichzeitig für die nette Aufnahme der Mitglieder des Ausschusses für Wirtschaft und Währung gestern in Frankreich und die sehr offene, konstruktive Aussprache danken.


  Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. – Mr President, I didn’t know that you had to be standing to address this Assembly, so I offer my apologies for not having done so in the first place and therefore I will align with the rule that you seem to have amongst you. I would like to first of all thank you very much for this dialogue that we had. It’s very much part of what we at the European Central Bank, and more broadly within the euro system, want to actually have with public opinions, with civil society representatives, but more importantly, with those who represent the citizens of Europe: that is you, Members of Parliament, who have been elected by them. This is very much part of the accountability that we have towards you and, through you, to the citizens of Europe. We have conducted a few changes in the last few months, but certainly one of those that I very much look forward to implementing as we go into the strategy review that has been approved last month, is the constant dialogue that we need to have, and what we have called the outreach with you and, through you, with the citizens of Europe. So thank you for that.

I thought I would just touch on some items of our strategy review to address some of the points that you have made. First of all, some of you have touched on the monetary policy and the current components of the instruments that we use in order to implement our policy and have been doing so since 2014. To those who argue that this monetary policy, and particularly its unconventional tools, have been counterproductive, I would very strongly encourage them to look at the impact that those unconventional tools have had on the economy – in which way it has actually increased growth and helped our economies around Europe and the euro area in particular to fare better than it would have had it not been for those instruments that were used as part of the unconventional policy.

It’s obviously very difficult to quantify carefully and precisely by how much growth has been lifted in the euro area, but our models actually indicate that that growth has been probably higher by a margin of about 2.5% to 3% ever since those policies were put in place. In the same vein, it has contributed to inflation which, as you know, ever since the euro was put in place and ever since the strategy was revisited in 2003, is measured with reference to inflation, and clearly those unconventional tools that have been used since 2014 have helped inflation go up a bit. Well, certainly we would have liked it a lot more than that, and maybe this would have been the case if other tools had been used in conjunction with our monetary policy. But be it as it was, certainly inflation has increased by a factor of about half a percentage point probably, which is certainly not bad, given the level where we are. To those who were mentioning, by the way, that inflation was hovering around 1%, I would simply remind you that in January inflation was at about 1.3%, which is certainly not the goal that we have, but certainly a bit more than the 1% that was mentioned.

Those unconventional tools that were used and the instruments that were deployed helped our economies and continue to help our economies. When you look at the volume and the number of new financing that are put in place for the real economy, whether it’s the corporate or whether it’s the households, we are seeing clearly financing that is very low in terms of cost, and I take the point that you made, sir, about the Irish banks and how much they charge and what interest rates they include, and we’ll look into that for sure. But the cost of financing has been low and lower for the real economy. And number two, the volume of financing of the economy has increased and has continued to increase. You will have seen some comments recently about the fact that this continuum is slowing down. Yes, it is a little bit – for the corporate, not for the households – but it is continuing to grow nonetheless. So I would contend that, in the main, it has had a very positive effect on our economies, and as part of our strategy review, we’ll look at how much and how effective it has been. But we will also look, as some of you have mentioned, to the potential side effects and to the accumulated side effects that it could have on citizens and on the economies as well. So that will be very much part and parcel of our review.

The second point that I would like to emphasise briefly, and I’ve focused on the monetary policy tools and how we will look at them and measure them and measure the benefits as well as the negative effect, is climate change. Nobody can ask the European Central Bank to substitute what governments should do and what policies should be in general. As former managing director of the IMF, I think I’d be remiss not to remind all of us that one of the key tools in relation to climate change is clearly the proper pricing of carbon, and this is not something that a European Central Bank or any central bank in the world can actually decide. So as we go through our strategy review, we will determine where and how the issue of climate change and the fight against climate change can actually have an impact on our policies, whether it’s in relation to our price stability primary objective and how it impacts this primary objective, or whether it’s in relation to the management of risk that we are accountable to our European citizens and to you when we look at the composition of our portfolios and the one that we manage, and whether or not risks are actually properly priced and whether the climate change risks associated with some of the collateral that we have in our portfolios, for instance, are measured or not. So in that respect, climate change will be one of the items that we will take into account, together with the more traditional aspects that we will be measuring, and it’s in the context of that strategy review, Mr Vice-President, that we will continue this dialogue, not only with you, but also with the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). The president of ECON was here and many members of the Committee are present in this room. We will continue to engage: we will have that dialogue, and we want that very much to be a two-way street.

Now, I offer our apologies to those who had very specific questions on particular countries, but I propose to take that up bilaterally with those who are interested in specific countries or banks going forward.


  Der Präsident. – Ich kann Ihnen nur persönlich und im Interesse der Europäischen Union und im globalen Interesse für Ihre Arbeit alles erdenklich Gute wünschen.


  Costas Mavrides, Rapporteur. – Mr President, I too will be brief. I’d like to note two points. Madame Lagarde, today you have seen that in the European Parliament we can have different views. And a thing about the past, about Mr Draghi. Mr Draghi might not have been perfect, but his legacy was that he was determined to save the eurozone, and in fact I would say that maybe he has also saved the European project. Some people cannot forgive him for that.

As far as today is concerned, though, you rightly said in your initial statement that we basically share the same view about challenges, and I would add that even Mr Dombrovskis and to some extent the Commission shares that same view.

That’s why I would add to that, though, that certain elements, just like what you noted before, are missing. I think that the major challenge for all of us is to deliver – to deliver to the European citizens and to improve their lives in certain specific ways – completion of the Banking Union, completion of the Capital Markets Union, and much more. Therefore it is up to you, Madame Lagarde, and we are going to support you in striving towards a real convergence of the economies. Thank you for being here today with us.


  Der Präsident. – Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet am Mittwoch, 12. Februar 2020, statt.

Ostatnia aktualizacja: 15 lutego 2021Informacja prawna - Polityka ochrony prywatności