Schaeuble Says ECB’s Independence Is Something to Value Highly

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the independence of the European Central Bank is something to value highly, as he signaled trust in ECB President Mario Draghi.

Speaking in Potsdam, outside Berlin, at an award ceremony for Draghi six hours after the central banker unveiled his bond- buying proposals, Schaeuble said the ECB’s independence “demands a high degree of restraint” by politicians in commenting on its decisions.

Policy makers combating the debt crisis “must not set wrong incentives,” Schaeuble said in a speech today. “Were we to want to start solving the problems of financial policy with the easier means of monetary policy, we would be making a grave mistake. That is why we have the independence, that is why we defend it, we respect it, we put our faith in it.”

Stocks, bonds and the euro rose after Draghi said that ECB policy makers agreed to an unlimited bond-purchase program to tackle “severe distortions in government bond markets” in the euro area and fight speculation of a currency breakup.

“If the politicians aren’t fast enough for the markets, the markets will have to wait,” Schaeuble said. The euro area won’t break up and “anyone who bets on that will lose their money.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel, asked in Madrid about Draghi’s announcement, said that the ECB is “acting with independence and within the framework of its mandate.” Even so, “all other measures, for example those that serve to stabilize the currency, cannot replace political action,” Merkel said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Czuczka in Berlin at aczuczka@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net

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