David Prosser: Trichet bows out with head held high

 

Outlook Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, has sometimes been attacked for failing to deliver the policy response to financial crisis – both today and in 2008 – that his critics had been hoping for. There is plenty to argue about on that front, but with Mr Trichet giving his final press conference yesterday before bowing out after eight years at the ECB, let us all concede one point: on the central objective of the bank, price stability, Mr Trichet has done an outstanding job – he has certainly been more effective than the Governor of the Bank of England.

One might also point out that the crisis the eurozone faces today is in large part the result of exactly the problems Mr Trichet was warning about more than 15 years ago.

As Governor of the Bank of France in the 1990s, Mr Trichet was one of the architects of the euro. But his warnings that the single currency zone would prove to be unstable without much closer political and economic union, particularly on fiscal policy, between its members went unheeded – not least because Germany was nervous about the idea of other countries having more influence over its domestic programme.

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