Draghi defends ECB’s monetary stimulus at Dutch parliament
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi clashed with Dutch lawmakers on Wednesday over the ECB’s monetary stimulus, underscoring mounting pressure for a policy change from Frankfurt as the region’s economy heats up.
Mr. Draghi’s rare visit to The Hague comes at a sensitive time for the ECB, which is considering when to start winding down its EUR60 billion-a-month bond-purchase program, known as quantitative easing. The program is currently due to run at least through December.
Tempers occasionally flared during a two-hour hearing in the Dutch parliament, as politicians probed Mr. Draghi on the ECB’s record of transparency, and attacked policies they said subsidized southern European countries and harmed Dutch pensioners.
“You still believe this [QE program] is fully within [the ECB’s] framework and you have not been doing any government financing, even though you [will have] bought EUR2.5 trillion of debt by the end of the year?” said Pieter Omtzigt, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal.
Mr. Draghi strongly defended the ECB’s decisions, which he said had helped support households throughout the region, including in the Netherlands. He also brushed off calls for a swift exit from QE.
“It is too early to declare success,” Mr. Draghi said. “Maintaining the current very substantial degree of monetary [stimulus] is still needed for underlying inflation pressures to build up.”