Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), discussing the remit and influence of the all-powerful European Central Bank — based in Frankfurt and heavily influenced by Germany — said its lack of transparency and undemocratic mandate must be curbed.
"Aside from dictating monetary policies across the Eurozone, [the ECB] has also inflicted years of austerity amongst the EU's southern member states," the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group (GUE/NGL) said in a statement.
"We've now reached a point where for years the ECB has been violating its mandate and acting outside of it. In fact, the ECB behaves like a dictatorship over European democracies. This is nothing new but it is increasingly obvious to many," said the GUE/NGL's Coordinator on the ECON committee, Marisa Matias.
According to Transparency International EU — in its report Two sides of the same coin? Independence and accountability at the ECB — a "lack of political leadership and decisive reform" has led the ECB to "stray into the area of political decision-making, without appropriate democratic scrutiny".
"The ECB is acting politically and unrestrained. The ECB is conscious of the risk of inflation as a consequence of its low-interest policy. The cheap money puts pensions and insurances of the European citizens and the banking systems at risk. It also leads to an overheating of property markets. It makes the citizens poorer every day, but this fact gets adeptly ignored," said Joachim Starbatty MEP, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group and professor of economics.
"The monetary policy of the European Central Bank only produces a flash in the pan and is highly dangerous in the long run. The reason for economic stagnation in the south of the eurozone is a false relative price. Incorrect relative prices cannot be matched by money printing," he said.
"The common exchange rate is a straightjacket in which Greece impoverishes and Germany has artificial records in exports. The European Parliament is blind to economic logic and leaves a politically active ECB that threatens the prosperity of its citizens in short-term," said Starbatty.