MEPs have questioned the President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, for the first time since the outbreak of the corona crisis. There was much criticism of the extensive buying policy.
During the quarterly 'monetary dialogue', most MEPs from the EP Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs focused almost exclusively on the recent ECB buying program. The buy-back programs reduce the costs for companies to borrow money on the capital market. The aim of this is to give companies room to survive this crisis and to continue to invest.
While there was also support for the ECB's buy-back policy in order to finance the Corona Recovery Fund, others mentioned several reasons why the bank had done too much too soon. Opponents warned of the risk of providing cheap money to multinationals and environmentally polluting companies. It is still argued that the ECB still buys bonds from companies that cause serious damage to people and the environment. For example, bonds from Shell, Total and British American Tobacco are bought up.
"Companies that harm people or the environment must be excluded," said Dutch social democrat Paul Tang (PvdA / S & D). “Lagarde has often indicated that he wants to make the ECB's policy more sustainable, but no action is taken. Precisely now that the ECB is pumping large amounts of money into the economy quickly, it is important to ensure that it ends up in the right place. Companies that harm people or the environment must be excluded. "
Paul Tang: “Unfortunately, the ECB's money is largely channeled to shareholders. Shell and British American Tobacco each paid € 1.3 billion in dividends. And the owner of fashion company Luis Vutton has received more than € 600 million in dividends. Thus, billionaires only get richer during this crisis. That is why I told Lagarde to drastically change the purchase program. ”
The ECB's massive purchases of government bonds have previously come under fire from the German Constitutional Court. Lagarde emphasized that the ECB took “proportionality” into account in its decision-making and performed a “cost-benefit analysis” - two key words of the German judgment. She said the ECB would help the Bundesbank to allay the court's concerns.
But Derk Jan Eppink, the Dutch FvD member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, said that the ECB's massive debt purchases are only intended to keep the southern countries afloat.