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Europe

Sarkozy Calls for Greater Transparency at ECB

French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has called on the European Central Bank to publish records of its debates and votes when setting interest rates in the interest of transparency.

French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday called on the European Central Bank to publish records of its debates and votes when setting interest rates in the interest of transparency. According to the newspaper Le Monde, Sarkozy said, "It is important that an independent European body communicates how its decisions are taken, not just to the markets but also to the citizens. In a democracy, it is important that this is explained". The ECB, which has sole responsibility for setting interest rates for the 12 countries that share the euro, neither publishes minutes of its meetings nor details of how its board members voted on monetary policy. Instead, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet gives a closely-watched press conference immediately after the decision is taken. The lack of written evidence has led to criticism that it lacks transparency and that it is harder for the markets to predict what interest rate decisions it will take. In countries such as the UK, Canada, the US and Sweden, markets pour over published minutes of monetary policy decisions and votes and attempt to speculate on whether the bank is likely to change its stance in the future. ( EUobserver.com)

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