German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday welcomed conditions attached to a new ECB bond-buying programme aimed at solving the eurozone debt crisis, saying governments also had work to do.

“The ECB made clear yesterday … that the the future of the euro will to a large extent be determined by political action and that the conditionality is a very important aspect,” Merkel said after talks with Austrian counterpart Werner Faymann.

“Responsibility and checks, or help and checks and conditions, always go hand in hand,” she told a joint news conference in Vienna.

“That is the way we have always chosen and so I believe we have the political duty to solve politically the difficulties that we have together. And the ECB is playing its role with its particular responsibilities.”

On Thursday the European Central Bank unveiled details of a major new programme under which it might buy in the secondary market an unlimited volume of short-term bonds of troubled eurozone countries in an effort to bring down painfully borrowing rates.

These countries will however have to apply for a bailout from one of the eurozone’s two rescue funds and commit to tough and unpopular austerity cuts of the kind imposed on Greece, Portugal and Ireland for emergency aid.

It is far from clear whether the government of the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy Spain, which along with the third-biggest Italy is meant to be a principal beneficiary of the scheme, will be prepared to take this step.

Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, has made clear its deep unease over the new plan, seeing it as being dangerously similar to the ECB simply printing money and thereby allowing inflation to soar perilously out of control.

Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann, who voted against the plan at the ECB on Thursday, said the bond purchases were “tantamount to financing governments by printing banknotes. Monetary policy risks being subjugated to fiscal policy.”

ECB head Mario Draghi’s effort to resolve the eurozone crisis once and for all could be undone as early as Wednesday if the German Constitutional Court rules against the eurozone’s new rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

German judges could rule that the ESM is incompatible with Germany’s “Grundgesetz”, or Basic Law, because it effectively forces the German parliament to surrender its budgetary sovereignty.

Faymann for his part said after his talks with Merkel in Vienna that he saw the ECB’s programme as “politically positive.”

“It is another step towards restoring sovereign bonds in the eyes of investors as a safe investment. A few years ago people would say that bonds are something safe and the day must come when they are safe again,” Faymann said.


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