Trichet has led ECB beyond mandate: ECB staff poll

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 4:53 AM
Trichet has led ECB beyond mandate: ECB staff poll

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Jean-Claude Trichet has taken the European Central Bank beyond its mandate with its efforts to fight the euro zone crisis, according to more than half of the bank's staff surveyed on his eight years as ECB president.

Just less than half of the ECB's 1,200 permanent staff were polled by the bank's trade union ipso to rate Trichet's performance as head of the bank.

More than 70 percent said they thought Trichet had improved the ECB's reputation, with 75 percent saying he had delivered a clear and consistent message on ECB policy to the financial markets as the bank's head.

However, 55 percent felt he had led the bank beyond its responsibilities with its crisis-fighting efforts. Nevertheless, more than half of those who thought the ECB had overstepped its inflation-fighting mandate said the decisions taken were right given the circumstances.

The most controversial of the ECB's decisions during the crisis was to start buying the bonds of troubled euro zone countries in May 2010, a move which has since led to the resignation of two of its most experienced German policymakers.

With Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi about to take over the helm at the ECB, the staff's general backing for Trichet's crisis tactics adds to the current debate about whether its inflation-focused mandate should be broadened out to make it more adept in times of turmoil.

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Trichet did not respond to ipso regarding the results of the survey.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for an internal survey, the main grumble of staff was how budget freezes under his reign had hurt the bank and that staff were being undervalued.

Just less than three-quarters of those surveyed, however, gave him high marks for his competence. Roughly 60 percent said the same of his efficiency and integrity, but more than half gave him poor or average marks for transparency and accountability.

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)