Christine Lagarde – The ECB should engage more with civil society (FR)

Yes … Good morning Mrs. Lagarde given what’s already been said, I’ll be a bit redundant here, but you’ve talked about taxonomy now and given the climate urgency that we’re certainly all aware of now, you’ve talked now here before the Parliament to put together a green methodology within the ECB for asset purchase programs and excluding any new purchases by the ECB of most polluting corporations’ assets and disinvesting from polluting companies as you said earlier, little by little, because indeed a study by Positive Money Europe and the Veblen Institute shows that 63% of corporate sector securities purchase programs benefit multinationals with the highest CO2 emissions. You said in your introductory talk that a currency is a public good that belongs to the public and not to the market … The ECB meets very regularly with representatives of the big banks and the financial sector but still does not have a platform for a structured dialogue with citizens and civil society. So would you agree to create an annual dialogue forum in which the ECB and civil society organisations could discuss the monetary policy of the European Union? Finally, as the representatives of the Finnish Presidency have announced this morning they would apply it to themselves, do you commit to reform the rules of ethics and transparency of the ECB, in particular to make publication of all ECB members’ meetings with lobbyists mandatory, including at senior levels like general managers and all central bank governors, which is not the case now. Thank you Thank you very much. Regarding your last question … I know that the Code of Ethics and Good Conduct has in particular been extensively revised as a result of what was perceived as a conflict of interest in interventions before private sector representatives. I am glad that this Code of Good Conduct applies and that it applies as widely as possible. I do not know, in the hierarchy of the ECB, to what level it applies and where it stops. I think that more and better it applies and in the most transparent way, better it is for the respect of ethical principles and simply to facilitate both the contacts, the nature of the contacts, the agendas that are planned for these meetings. So I do not give you any commitment here because I honestly do not really know how far it stops. I know that I am subject to it and that the directors and members of the Supervisory Board, the Board of Governors too. On the annual forum… there too I will not make any commitment now because I’m not yet in position but what I can tell you is that when I was at the IMF this type of consultation has been set up and developed very intensively. And those who are veterans of the International Monetary Fund know that for example ten years ago non-governmental organisations, representatives of civil society, were outside the institution. And we have, over the years, a dialogue between us, very fruitful – we did not always agree btw, and we do not always agree – but we managed to find ways of a constructive dialogue, an active one, between all the representatives of the civil society coming from 89 countries of the whole world. It lasts for three days at the time of the annual meetings and it requires a lot of energy, a lot of commitments, including at the level of the management of the institution. So, I will not promise you right now that we will realise that … but in any case I found that the exchanges and this type of dialogue with the representatives of civil society were fundamental to better understand their expectations, to better explain what we were doing, explain the limits of our action and also sometimes push a little bit the limits of our operations thanks to representatives of civil society. On the methodology … If a taxonomy is put in place, if it is approved at the level of the European Parliament then it will be necessary to consider in terms of processes how this taxonomy is applied and how we can improve the carbon footprint through the management of portfolio when products come to maturity.

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