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Liikanen Says ECB Council Decisions Should Be More Transparent

European Central Bank Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen said he’d be in favor of publishing the minutes of policy meetings to increase transparency.

“The ECB is relatively open in the way that after a meeting, the president will come out to say what was decided and answer questions,” Liikanen, who heads Finland’s central bank, told reporters after a parliamentary meeting in Helsinki today. “My idea is to take one step forward and also describe the conversation, what each member has said.”

The discussion about increasing transparency gained momentum after ECB President Mario Draghi announced unlimited bond purchases in August and said Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann had voted against the plan. Draghi is open to publishing minutes of council meetings, an initiative supported by the Bundesbank and the Finnish central bank, German newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Sept. 19.

“It could be a summary, it could include names, I don’t take a definitive stand on the form right now,” Liikanen said today. “The idea is plainly to take a step toward transparency and openness. It would help people to understand decisions better as justifications would be readily available.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti today welcomed the ECB’s push for greater transparency and said it will curb public statements from dissenting governors.

Weidmann’s Criticism

Weidmann has criticized the ECB’s bond-purchase plan in speeches and interviews, arguing it’s tantamount to printing new money to finance governments.

Liikanen said the ECB’s new program, dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions, wasn’t made for only one country.

“We’re not making a program for the needs of a single country,” Liikanen said. “It will cover the whole euro zone if needed.”

Liikanen also said that bank bailouts must remain a “rare exception” and excessive risk taking as a result of banks’ “implicit backing” from governments “must stop.”

A European Commission working group on possible bank structure rules, which Liikanen heads, will present its proposals “in less than two weeks,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jana Randow in Frankfurt at jrandow@bloomberg.net; Kasper Viita in Helsinki at kviita1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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