So far, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had always held back when it came to the controversial monetary policy of the European Central Bank. The ECB was independent, he used to block all questions about the controversial low interest rate policy of the central bank.
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But after the inauguration of the new ECB President Christine Lagarde Scholz makes clear that he considers a large part of the attacks to be unjustified. "The ECB has contributed significantly to the fact that the monetary union has overcome the euro crisis," he told the SPIEGEL.
Above all, Scholz criticizes the sentence of his predecessor, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), according to which the success of the AfD was linked to ECB policy. "It is complete nonsense to attribute the rise of right-wing populism in Germany to ECB policy," he said. "After all, there is right-wing populism even in countries where the euro is not the national currency, as in Switzerland, in Denmark, in Sweden."
Following recent ECB decisions to further cut interest rates and resume controversial government bond purchases, criticism of the ECB's policy of cheap money has intensified. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann and nine other members of the Governing Council had raised concerns about the package of measures.
To stimulate growth
This was also in German politics new displeasure with the course of the central bank came up. Monetary policy, according to many economists, has exhausted its resources. In order to boost the economy and bring inflation back to the target of two percent, European fiscal policy must instead become more expansionary. Financially sound countries like Germany should do more for growth.
Scholz announced that, in response to low interest rates, government investment and spending would continue to increase. After the reduction in solia and increases in housing allowance, child allowance, student loans and infrastructure expenditures, a state housing program must now follow. "If we could manage to build 300,000 to 400,000 new homes each year, including 100,000 social housing, that would be an effective measure," said Scholz - also against rising house prices and rents.
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