Top ECB Official Resigns After Questioning Stimulus

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A member of the European Central Bank’s leadership has resigned after publicly questioning the need for the bank’s stimulus efforts, opening an unexpected vacancy on the institutions’ top executive body amid public criticism of its policies by some of its own officials.

Sabine Lautenschlaeger’s resignation comes amid criticism in her native Germany of the stimulus program decided by the bank under President Mario Draghi, who is to be succeeded by former IMF head Christine Lagarde Nov. 1.

The ECB said in a statement on Wednesday that Lautenschlaeger would leave her post on the bank’s six-member executive board at the end of the month, more than two years before the end of her eight-year term. The statement did not say why she was resigning.

Still, Lautenschlaeger had questioned the need for more bond-purchase stimulus before a Sept. 12 meeting, saying such extraordinary support should be reserved for use during more serious trouble. The bank decided to launch such a program at the meeting and will purchase 20 billion euros ($22 billion) in government and corporate bonds per month in an effort to boost lagging inflation and growth. The purchases drive down market interest rates in an effort to stimulate business borrowing and activity.


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