In imperial castle, Lagarde told ECB must be more democratic - sources
By Francesco Canepa, Balazs Koranyi and Frank Siebelt FRANKFURT (Reuters) - New European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has been urged to make decisions at the powerful institution more consensual after years of tight control by her predecessor Mario Draghi, four sources told Reuters. Lagarde, who took office this month, gathered the 25 members of the ECB's Governing Council on Wednesday and Thursday for a retreat in a 19th-century castle built for German empress Victoria in the Taunus mountains surrounding Frankfurt
By Francesco Canepa, Balazs Koranyi and Frank Siebelt
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - New European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has been urged to make decisions at the powerful institution more consensual after years of tight control by her predecessor Mario Draghi, four sources told Reuters.
Lagarde, who took office this month, gathered the 25 members of the ECB's Governing Council on Wednesday and Thursday for a retreat in a 19th-century castle built for German empress Victoria in the Taunus mountains surrounding Frankfurt.
She was hoping to heal the discord that characterised the twilight of Draghi's presidency, exacerbated by a divisive bond-buying scheme and by a management style seen by some policymakers as increasingly autocratic.
The ECB's governing council, which decides on monetary policy, comprises central bank governors of the 19 euro zone countries plus the six-member Executive Committee.
Those gathered at the Schlosshotel Kronberg voiced their desire to play a greater role in policy decisions and said these should be taken by consensus rather than a simple majority, the sources said.
This would involve distributing policy proposals to governors earlier and seeking the broadest possible support for them, as happened early in Draghi's era and under his predecessor Jean-Claude Trichet.
One point raised was that public ECB communication should not front-run policy decisions by dropping hints of what is to come -- a trait of Draghi's -- the sources said.
Three of the sources poured cold water on the prospect of holding formal votes on policy proposals and publishing them, saying this would hamper the governors' freedom and rekindle a debate on national interests.
An ECB spokesman declined to comment.
The demands reflected the main criticisms thrown at Draghi, who would prepare big policy moves with a close circle of advisers and involve the Governing Council only late in the process.
In the most dramatic public schism in the ECB's history, Draghi forced through a decision to resume bond purchases in September despite oppositions from over a third of the Governing Council, including Germany, France and the Netherlands.
Lagarde tweeted a picture from the gathering on Thursday, showing the informally dressed policymakers sitting around a large round table in one the hotel's halls.
(Editing by Catherine Evans)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.