The ECB in the COVID-19 Crisis: Whatever it Takes, Within its Mandate

15-05-2020

To keep the euro-area economy afloat, the European Central Bank (ECB) has announced a large number of measures since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. This response has triggered fears of a future increase in inflation. We discuss the risks that the ECB is unable to fulfil its price-stability mandate, and also whether these new measures respect legal limits set by the EU Treaties. We conclude that the measures introduced by the ECB during the crisis and the resulting increase in the size of its balance sheet, even if it were to be permanent, should not restrict its ability to achieve its price-stability mandate in the future, within its legal obligations. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

To keep the euro-area economy afloat, the European Central Bank (ECB) has announced a large number of measures since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. This response has triggered fears of a future increase in inflation. We discuss the risks that the ECB is unable to fulfil its price-stability mandate, and also whether these new measures respect legal limits set by the EU Treaties. We conclude that the measures introduced by the ECB during the crisis and the resulting increase in the size of its balance sheet, even if it were to be permanent, should not restrict its ability to achieve its price-stability mandate in the future, within its legal obligations. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.