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Lagarde’s Mixed Report Card After One Year at European Central Bank

She flubbed a comment and sent Italian bonds reeling, but also has held the fractious governing council together amid the pandemic.

Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, speaks at the launch of the COP26 Private Finance Agenda in London on Feb. 27. 

Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, speaks at the launch of the COP26 Private Finance Agenda in London on Feb. 27. 

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Updated on

When Christine Lagarde became president of the European Central Bank on Nov. 1 last year, she had two tasks she wanted to accomplish. The first was to reconcile the ECB’s fractious governing council after its eight divisive years under her predecessor, Mario Draghi. Second, she wanted to build bridges with the wider public by improving how the central bank communicated its policies and perspectives.

As her first anniversary approaches, only one of these goals has been fulfilled—and it is not clear how long it will last. The governing council has stood largely united as the ECB took a number of unprecedented steps to stimulate the euro zone’s economy and bolster financial stability through the pandemic. However, longstanding divisions are already reemerging ahead of the central bank’s December meeting, when it may discuss taking additional measures.