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ECB Decision Making Needs Transparency, Liikanen Tells Aamulehti

The European Central Bank should be more transparent in its decision making, Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen told the newspaper Aamulehti.

“As experience is accumulated, there will probably be a time when we consider more carefully what is public information and what isn’t,” Liikanen told Tampere, Finland-based Aamulehti in an interview. “That means more information becoming public significantly sooner than currently.”

The Frankfurt-based ECB keeps minutes of its meetings and voting by Governing Council members confidential for 30 years, unlike the Federal Reserve, which publishes minutes three weeks after its meetings. The Bank of England and Sweden’s Riksbank also disclose voting records after setting interest rates.

Thirty years “is a long time,” Liikanen, who also heads the Bank of Finland in Helsinki, told Aamulehti. “I’m not at all worried about changing this as long as we ensure that some part of the debate before decisions are taken remains confidential.”

There are signs Europe’s debt crisis may be restarting through the banking system, Liikanen said, according to Aamulehti. While each country must take care of its public finances, governments must work together to support each other until the financial markets recognize the structural changes that are taking place, he said.

“When all this is done, the ECB can independently consider whether it will participate,” Liikanen said. “It can’t happen the other way around.”

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