Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde in Brussels, Belgium on Feb. 6, 2020.

FRANCOIS LENOIR/Reuters

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde began a public “listening” tour on Wednesday, engaging civil society for the first time as she seeks to readjust the bank’s strategy and make it more responsive to social challenges.

In the bank’s first strategy review in 17 years, the ECB is looking to redefine its inflation target. It will also look at what it can do to fight climate change, foster inclusion, reach civil society and empower women.

The engagement contrasts with the traditions of a deeply technocratic institution, which has primarily focused its efforts on banks and financial markets, spending relatively little time to reach ordinary people.

Story continues below advertisement

“The euro is the common currency of all citizens of the euro area, it is their common good, and we are the custodians of that common good. The European central bank at the service of the European citizens,” Lagarde said at the ECB Listens event.

With dozens of non-governmental organizations speaking directly to Lagarde and ECB chief economist Philip Lane, the biggest criticism was levelled at the ECB for using blunt tools that disproportionately benefit the wealthy and reach the real economy too slowly.

Buying trillions of euros worth of debt, the ECB hopes to boost the euro zone economy by cutting borrowing costs across the board, a strategy critics says takes too long to reach the vulnerable.

“It’s equivalent to trying to replenish the ocean by dumping water on top of Mount Everest,” said Martin Schmalzried from the Coface Families Europe association.

Several NGOs also criticized the ECB for merely talking about fighting climate change while its oversized bond purchases actually benefit some of the biggest polluters on the continent.

The ECB buys bonds according to a principle of market neutrality. But markets are not pricing climate risk and over-allocate capital to the biggest emitters, so neutrality actually benefits polluters, many argued.

“If you believe that you can be climate-neutral these days, you might as well be a member of a murder-suicide cult,” Jeroen Kwakkenbos at Oxfam said.

Story continues below advertisement

The review is due to conclude by the middle of next, but the revised inflation target could be introduced early next year.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies