European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde took the mobile phones of her fellow policymakers at a recent meeting and reprimanded them for leaking important information before a policy decision, according to two sources. Lagarde’s action is the most assertive step she has taken to address the issue of information leaks, which has been a problem during her presidency and that of her predecessor, Mario Draghi.
During the meeting, the 26 members of the Governing Council were required to surrender their mobile phones. This occurred on the first day of the meeting, just before the announcement of Claudia Buch as the ECB’s top banking supervisor. The decision to collect the phones was made in response to a previous incident in 2018 when the media learned of the appointment of the current chair, Andrea Enria, before the official release.
The mobile phones were returned after Buch’s nomination as chair of the Single Supervisory Board was announced. An ECB spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. Lagarde’s action came after RushHourDaily exclusively revealed that the ECB would raise a key inflation forecast, which influenced expectations of an interest rate hike.
Lagarde inherited a divided Governing Council from Draghi, but she has made efforts to create a more harmonious atmosphere. High inflation in recent years reduced dissent and led to a series of interest rate hikes. However, as borrowing costs increased, more policymakers expressed reservations about further hikes.
Lagarde has made significant efforts to foster unity among her colleagues. She has emphasized the importance of listening and avoiding pre-emptive decisions. She has also encouraged governors to refrain from criticizing policy decisions in the media and to put their phones away during meetings. Additionally, she has established guidelines for presenting the majority view to the public after policy decisions are made.
In conclusion, Lagarde’s action to collect mobile phones at the meeting demonstrates her determination to address the issue of information leaks. She has worked to create a more cohesive Governing Council and has taken steps to ensure that policy decisions are presented effectively to the public.
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