Session 1 will explore the legality of the ECB’s decisions to buy government bonds on the secondary market in light of its primary mandate of price stability and independence from fiscal policy.See here for a full list of speakers.
Session 2 will look at benefits and costs of the ECB’s actions during the eurozone crisis, including its liquidity provision for banks, its bond buying programme and its decisions on interest rates. Open Europe will present its research on the ECB, which tackles these issues, and highlights that the bank has amassed an exposure of €590bn to the PIIGS. It will also ask the question whether, moving forward, the ECB should start acting more as the lender of last resort for the eurozone.
It promises to be a stimulating examination of a topic which is right at the fore of the eurozone crisis at the moment. The calls for the ECB to step in and financially backstop the eurozone with its balance sheet are definitely increasing, but German resistance to such a move only seems to be hardening. We will of course post a recording and summary of the discussion on our blog in due course.