by Balazs Koranyi and Francesco Canepa
FRANKFURT/SAINT JACQUES DE COMPOSTELA (Reuters) – European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde confiscated her colleagues’ cell phones at the institution’s meeting this week and reprimanded them for having disclosed crucial information before a decision, two sources told Reuters.
This unprecedented measure is the boldest taken by Christine Lagarde to put an end to the leaks of information within the Governing Council, which poisoned her presidency as well as that of her predecessor, Mario Draghi.
All 26 members of the governing council were asked to hand over their mobile phones on Wednesday, the first day of the meeting, as they were set to choose Claudia Buch as the ECB’s chief banking supervisor, the people familiar with the matter said. from subject.
The phones were returned after the appointment was announced, the sources added. The decision was made because the 2018 choice for current president, Andrea Enria, had leaked to the media before the official release, the sources said.
An ECB spokesperson declined to comment.
The Christine Lagarde move came a day after Reuters exclusively revealed that the ECB would raise a key inflation forecast this week, paving the way for an interest rate hike on Thursday.
Most economists and traders expected the ECB to hold rates steady, but many changed their minds after the Reuters report was published late Tuesday.
Christine Lagarde denounced the leak at the start of the two-day meeting, a criticism that was echoed by several colleagues.
Christine Lagarde inherited a divided board of governors after the departure of Mario Draghi, who had alienated the “hawks” in the north of the euro zone with his ultra-accommodating monetary policy and management style.
She strove to create a more harmonious atmosphere and several sources agree that she was largely successful.
Ironically, his efforts have been aided by painfully high inflation over the past two years, which has reduced the dissidents’ room for maneuver and effectively forced the ECB to commit to a series of rate hikes.
But as borrowing costs rose, more policymakers expressed reservations about further hikes, the sources said.
Christine Lagarde said Thursday that the latest increase was supported by “a solid majority of governors”, while they all agreed for the previous one in July and that there was a “very, very broad consensus” a month earlier.
( Benjamin Mallet)
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