DP4013 | Independent Yet Cooperative: The ECB

Publication Date

23/08/2003

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Abstract

Does a high level of independence prevent European Central Bank sensitivity to criticism the outside world might have? Does the ECB, in the words of its President Wim Duisenberg, hear but not listen? We have investigated the relationship between the European Central Bank and the European Parliament, which holds the ECB accountable for its policies, with regard to transparency, accountability and communication policy. As there are no provisions based upon which any European Union body could force the ECB into doing anything, one might be afraid that a negative side effect of the ECB´s independence could be abuse of its status by rejecting any outside criticism of its policy and actions. On the basis of our results we can assure anyone concerned that this is not the case with the ECB. Despite its high level of independence, the ECB is willing and able to make changes in its procedures with regard to transparency, accountability and communication policy. What might be true for its President certainly does not apply to the institution: the ECB not only hears, but it listens too.