We at TI-EU have been questioning the levels of transparency and accountability at the ECB, as you can see in our op-ed in the EU Observer and our blog post on President Barroso’s address . We are glad to see that those wise old heads at the Financial Times (motto: “without fear or favour”) came to the same conclusion. They, like us, want to see the ECB publish minutes of its Governing Council meetings, as well as records of the votes cast.
Under current rules, the minutes can only be made public once 30 years has elapsed. That safeguards Jean-Claude Trichet’s reputation until 2040, but it’s hard to understand how this level of secrecy might serve the public interest or indeed the reputation of the ECB, given that the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve publish their minutes in a matter of weeks.
The governor of the Central Bank of Finland, Erkki Liikanen, is said to support greater transparency. Since he has also chaired a recent European Commission expert group looking into reforms of the EU banking sector, this bodes well for the group’s report due next month. One can only hope that having read our contribution to that group’s consultation, he will also arrive at similar conclusions.