France’s Hollande Woos Germany’s SPD to Rewrite ECB Rulebook

The opposition socialist parties of France and Germany should broaden the European Central Bank’s mandate to influence economic policy if they come to power, Socialist Party presidential candidate Francois Hollande said.

France’s Socialists and Germany’s Social Democrats, facing national elections in 2012 and 2013, should plan ahead to widen the ECB’s power to fight the debt crisis, Hollande said today in an address to German “comrades” in Berlin. He is leading polls before the May election and the SPD is seeking to win the September 2013 vote.

“I know how much you hold dear the rules on the independence” of the ECB, Hollande told delegates at the German socialists’ annual convention. “But equally I want it to take more notice of the situation in the world of the real economy.” The ECB must use its powers “fully” to combat the crisis, “expanding its role as a credit source to tackle speculation efficiently,” he said.

The Frankfurt-based ECB has prevented the breakup of the euro,“having been forced to assume a political role in face of the failure” of euro-region leaders to contain the crisis, the SPD said in a resolution released at its conference yesterday. The bank “will continue to have a central responsibility” in the crisis, the party said.

Hollande would defeat President Nicolas Sarkozy 58 percent to 42 percent if the second round of the presidential vote were held now, according to a BVA poll published on Nov. 22.

The SPD, led by party Chairman Sigmar Gabriel, trailed Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union by 25 percent to 35 percent in a Nov. 25 Stern magazine poll.

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