BERLIN Dec 9 Mass-selling German newspaper Bild
heaped criticism on European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
on Friday, a day after the ECB said it would extend its massive
stimulus programme for the euro zone.
"When does Draghi's money bomb go off?" Bild asked, with a
picture of the Italian's face on a bomb with a lit fuse.
The ECB has already spent more than 1.4 trillion euros
($1.5 trillion) buying bonds and is at risk of running out of
assets. Germany's Bundesbank argues that this blurs a legal line
and amounts to financing of government budgets, which would go
beyond the remit of the central bank.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who regularly
presses countries in southern Europe to shape up their economies
with reforms, has called on the ECB to start unwinding its
expansive monetary policy.
"The ECB chief is again putting billions at the disposal of
crisis countries," added Bild, which during the euro zone crisis
gifted Draghi a spiked Prussian helmet from 1871 to show its
confidence the Italian would adhere to German-style discipline.
The ECB trimmed back its asset buys in a surprise move on
Thursday but promised to extend the stimulus to December next
year from March, in order to aid a still fragile recovery. It
dismissed any talk of tapering the programme away.
Markus Soeder, finance minister in the conservative southern
state of Bavaria, said the extension of the ECB's low interest
rates and asset purchases sent the wrong signal to countries in
the south of the euro zone, especially Italy.
Soeder told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain: "Savers
and owners of life insurance in Germany are paying the price for
the reform sloppiness with interest losses in three-digit
billions (of euros)."
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported that
Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann did not agree with Thursday's
ECB decision to extend its bond purchases. The Bundesbank
declined to comment on the report.
($1 = 0.9420 euros)
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)