Deliberation on the role of (un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the interpretation of the secondary mandate

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Dear Madam or Sir,

For a research project on the history of the ECB’s interpretation of its mandate, I am currently interested in early deliberations on the role of (un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the interpretation article 127(1), where it concerns the sentence “Without prejudice to the objective of price stability, the ESCB shall support the general economic policies in the Union with a view to contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Union as laid down in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union.” (sometimes referred to as the “secondary mandate”)

In a recent speech at the 2020 ECB Watchers conference, Christian Noyer refers to internal discussions in the Governing Council concerning the interpretation of the objectives of the ECB as spelled out in mandate. Noyer explains that the topic “was heavily debated towards the beginning of the monetary union, circa 2000, in the Governing Council of the ECB:” but a decision was made for “not calling the objectives of Art. 2, or a selection of them, a ‘secondary mandate,’ even if it is clear that the ECB has to take them into account.” (the text is available on the website of the IMFS: https://www.imfs-frankfurt.de/fileadmin/... )

Noyer refers to four arguments that were put forward for not giving a role to unemployment in the monetary policy strategy. The first, ascribed to Otmar Issing, is that “achieving price stability is always forward-looking (monetary policy of today provides price stability tomorrow, because of the lags in its transmission); whereas trying to influence the level of output or of employment would be a short-term objective.”

The second is that “the two objectives usually lead to the same policy”.

The third concerns clarity of communication and setting clear expectations.

The fourth is about most central banks having one objective.

In 2003, the ECB reviewed its monetary policy strategy and confirmed its decision to focus on price stability (https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/...).

To better understand the historical context of this decision I would like to request disclosure in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 of
• any document pertaining to the internal deliberation on the secondary mandate in the Governing Council between 1998 and 2003 in particular where it concern the four arguments that Noyer mentions; and
• any documents pertaining to the secondary mandate in the context of the 2003 review of the monetary policy strategy.

This document request concerns documents related to internal deliberations within the ECB’s organs. They are, however, part of a decision-making process that has been long concluded, while the outcome of the decision-making is also publicly known. At the same time there is an overriding public interest in learning about how the ECB has historically interpreted its secondary mandate. This will clarify the ECB’s choices in the past and will allow researchers like me to better understand how the reasons that informed these choices should be evaluated in the present-day context. Such research is pivotal to grasp what the legal possibilities and limitations are for the ECB to address pressing concerns such as environmental sustainability and economic inequality as part of its mandate.

Yours faithfully,
Dr. Nik de Boer
Assistant Professor in constitutional law, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Access to documents,

Dear Mr de Boer,

Thank you for your request of 26 February 2021 for access to European
Central Bank (ECB) documents.

In accordance with [1]Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents, as last amended, you will receive a reply within 20 working
days.

Yours sincerely,

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[2][email address]

Privacy notice: By submitting a request for access to documents, the ECB
collects information about you for the sole purpose of processing your
request in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents. All personal data are processed in accordance with EU Data
Protection Law (Regulation (EU) 2018/1725). The ECB is the controller for
the processing of the personal data. The recipients of the data will be
the ECB’s Compliance and Governance Office and, only when necessary, other
institutions within the European System of Central Banks, the Single
Supervisory Mechanism, or EU institutions.

You have the right to restrict processing and to access, rectify and under
certain conditions to request deletion of your stored personal data. You
can exercise your rights by contacting the ECB's Compliance and Governance
Office ([3][email address]) or the ECB’s Data Protection
Officer ([4][email address]).Furthermore, you have the right to address
the European Data Protection Supervisor ([5]www.edps.europa.eu) any time
regarding this processing of your personal data.

 

________________________________________

From: Nik de Boer

Sent: Friday, 26 February 2021 13:14:17 (UTC+01:00) Amsterdam, Berlin,
Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna

To: [6][email address]

Subject: [EXT] access to documents request - Deliberation on the role of
(un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the
interpretation of the secondary mandate

 

Dear Madam or Sir,

 

 

 

For a research project on the history of the ECB’s interpretation of its
mandate, I am currently interested in early deliberations on the role of
(un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the
interpretation article 127(1), where it concerns the sentence “Without
prejudice to the objective of price stability, the ESCB shall support the
general economic policies in the Union with a view to contributing to the
achievement of the objectives of the Union as laid down in Article 3 of
the Treaty on European Union.” (sometimes referred to as the “secondary
mandate”)

 

 

 

In a recent speech at the 2020 ECB Watchers conference, Christian Noyer
refers to internal discussions in the Governing Council concerning the
interpretation of the objectives of the ECB as spelled out in mandate.
Noyer explains that the topic “was heavily debated towards the beginning
of the monetary union, circa 2000, in the Governing Council of the ECB:”
but a decision was made for “not calling the objectives of Art. 2, or a
selection of them, a ‘secondary mandate,’ even if it is clear that the ECB
has to take them into account.” (the text is available on the website of
the IMFS:
[7]https://www.imfs-frankfurt.de/fileadmin/...
)

 

 

 

Noyer refers to four arguments that were put forward for not giving a role
to unemployment in the monetary policy strategy. The first, ascribed to
Otmar Issing, is that “achieving price stability is always forward-looking
(monetary policy of today provides price stability tomorrow, because of
the lags in its transmission); whereas trying to influence the level of
output or of employment would be a short-term objective.”

 

 

 

The second is that “the two objectives usually lead to the same policy”.

 

 

 

The third concerns clarity of communication and setting clear
expectations.

 

 

 

The fourth is about most central banks having one objective.

 

 

 

In 2003, the ECB reviewed its monetary policy strategy and confirmed its
decision to focus on price stability
([8]https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/...).

 

 

 

To better understand the historical context of this decision I would like
to request disclosure in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 of

 

•       any document pertaining to the internal deliberation on the
secondary mandate in the Governing Council between 1998 and 2003 in
particular where it concern the four arguments that Noyer mentions; and

 

•       any documents pertaining to the secondary mandate in the context
of the 2003 review of the monetary policy strategy.

 

 

 

This document request concerns documents related to internal deliberations
within the ECB’s organs. They are, however, part of a decision-making
process that has been long concluded, while the outcome of the
decision-making is also publicly known. At the same time there is an
overriding public interest in learning about how the ECB has historically
interpreted its secondary mandate. This will clarify the ECB’s choices in
the past and will allow researchers like me to better understand how the
reasons that informed these choices should be evaluated in the present-day
context. Such research is pivotal to grasp what the legal possibilities
and limitations are for the ECB to address pressing concerns such as
environmental sustainability and economic inequality as part of its
mandate.

 

 

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Dr. Nik de Boer

 

Assistant Professor in constitutional law, Faculty of Law, University of
Amsterdam

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 

This is a request for access to information under Article 15 of the TFEU
and, where applicable, Regulation 1049/2001 which has been sent via the
AsktheEU.org website.

 

 

 

Please kindly use this email address for all replies to this request:
[9][FOI #9133 email]

 

 

 

If [10][ECB request email] is the wrong address for information
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This message and all replies from European Central Bank will be published
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Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Access to documents,

Dear Mr de Boer,

We refer to your request received on 26 February 2021 for access to
European Central Bank (ECB) documents.

We regret to inform you that, owing to the increased workload created by a
high number of simultaneous requests the ECB has not yet been able to
conclude the internal assessment process and the detailed analysis of all
legal aspects related to the possible disclosure of the requested
documents.

In accordance with article 7.3 of [1]Decision ECB/2004/3, the ECB has
decided to extend the time-limit for responding to your application by 20
working days.

We apologise for the inconvenience this delay may cause.

Yours sincerely,

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[2][email address]

 

 

From: Access to documents
Sent: 03 March 2021 11:00
To: 'Nik de Boer' <[FOI #9133 email]>
Subject: RE: [EXT] Acknowledgement of receipt - access to documents
request - Deliberation on the role of (un)employment in the ECB’s monetary
policy strategy and the interpretation of the secondary mandate

 

Dear Mr de Boer,

Thank you for your request of 26 February 2021 for access to European
Central Bank (ECB) documents.

In accordance with [3]Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents, as last amended, you will receive a reply within 20 working
days.

Yours sincerely,

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[4][email address]

Privacy notice: By submitting a request for access to documents, the ECB
collects information about you for the sole purpose of processing your
request in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents. All personal data are processed in accordance with EU Data
Protection Law (Regulation (EU) 2018/1725). The ECB is the controller for
the processing of the personal data. The recipients of the data will be
the ECB’s Compliance and Governance Office and, only when necessary, other
institutions within the European System of Central Banks, the Single
Supervisory Mechanism, or EU institutions.

You have the right to restrict processing and to access, rectify and under
certain conditions to request deletion of your stored personal data. You
can exercise your rights by contacting the ECB's Compliance and Governance
Office ([5][email address]) or the ECB’s Data Protection
Officer ([6][email address]).Furthermore, you have the right to address
the European Data Protection Supervisor ([7]www.edps.europa.eu) any time
regarding this processing of your personal data.

 

________________________________________

From: Nik de Boer

Sent: Friday, 26 February 2021 13:14:17 (UTC+01:00) Amsterdam, Berlin,
Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna

To: [8][email address]

Subject: [EXT] access to documents request - Deliberation on the role of
(un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the
interpretation of the secondary mandate

 

Dear Madam or Sir,

 

 

 

For a research project on the history of the ECB’s interpretation of its
mandate, I am currently interested in early deliberations on the role of
(un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the
interpretation article 127(1), where it concerns the sentence “Without
prejudice to the objective of price stability, the ESCB shall support the
general economic policies in the Union with a view to contributing to the
achievement of the objectives of the Union as laid down in Article 3 of
the Treaty on European Union.” (sometimes referred to as the “secondary
mandate”)

 

 

 

In a recent speech at the 2020 ECB Watchers conference, Christian Noyer
refers to internal discussions in the Governing Council concerning the
interpretation of the objectives of the ECB as spelled out in mandate.
Noyer explains that the topic “was heavily debated towards the beginning
of the monetary union, circa 2000, in the Governing Council of the ECB:”
but a decision was made for “not calling the objectives of Art. 2, or a
selection of them, a ‘secondary mandate,’ even if it is clear that the ECB
has to take them into account.” (the text is available on the website of
the IMFS:
[9]https://www.imfs-frankfurt.de/fileadmin/...
)

 

 

 

Noyer refers to four arguments that were put forward for not giving a role
to unemployment in the monetary policy strategy. The first, ascribed to
Otmar Issing, is that “achieving price stability is always forward-looking
(monetary policy of today provides price stability tomorrow, because of
the lags in its transmission); whereas trying to influence the level of
output or of employment would be a short-term objective.”

 

 

 

The second is that “the two objectives usually lead to the same policy”.

 

 

 

The third concerns clarity of communication and setting clear
expectations.

 

 

 

The fourth is about most central banks having one objective.

 

 

 

In 2003, the ECB reviewed its monetary policy strategy and confirmed its
decision to focus on price stability
([10]https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/...).

 

 

 

To better understand the historical context of this decision I would like
to request disclosure in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 of

 

•       any document pertaining to the internal deliberation on the
secondary mandate in the Governing Council between 1998 and 2003 in
particular where it concern the four arguments that Noyer mentions; and

 

•       any documents pertaining to the secondary mandate in the context
of the 2003 review of the monetary policy strategy.

 

 

 

This document request concerns documents related to internal deliberations
within the ECB’s organs. They are, however, part of a decision-making
process that has been long concluded, while the outcome of the
decision-making is also publicly known. At the same time there is an
overriding public interest in learning about how the ECB has historically
interpreted its secondary mandate. This will clarify the ECB’s choices in
the past and will allow researchers like me to better understand how the
reasons that informed these choices should be evaluated in the present-day
context. Such research is pivotal to grasp what the legal possibilities
and limitations are for the ECB to address pressing concerns such as
environmental sustainability and economic inequality as part of its
mandate.

 

 

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Dr. Nik de Boer

 

Assistant Professor in constitutional law, Faculty of Law, University of
Amsterdam

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 

This is a request for access to information under Article 15 of the TFEU
and, where applicable, Regulation 1049/2001 which has been sent via the
AsktheEU.org website.

 

 

 

Please kindly use this email address for all replies to this request:
[11][FOI #9133 email]

 

 

 

If [12][ECB request email] is the wrong address for information
requests to European Central Bank, please tell the AsktheEU.org team on
email [13][email address]

 

 

 

This message and all replies from European Central Bank will be published
on the AsktheEU.org website. For more information see our dedicated page
for EU public officials at [14]https://www.asktheeu.org/en/help/officers

 

 

 

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

 

 

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Any e-mail message from the European Central Bank (ECB) is sent in good
faith, but shall neither be binding nor construed as constituting a
commitment by the ECB except where provided for in a written agreement.
This e-mail is intended only for the use of the recipient(s) named above.
Any unauthorised disclosure, use or dissemination, either in whole or in
part, is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please
notify the sender immediately via e-mail and delete this e-mail from your
system. The ECB processes personal data in line with Regulation (EU)
2018/1725. In case of queries, please contact the ECB Data Protection
Officer ([email address]). You may also contact the European Data
Protection Supervisor.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ecb.europa.eu/ecb/legal/pdf/0...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ecb.europa.eu/ecb/legal/pdf/0...
4. mailto:[email address]
5. file:///C:/Users/ballest/AppData/Roaming/OpenText/OTEdit/EC_darwin/c74320805/accesstodocuments%40ecb.europa.eu
6. mailto:[email address]
7. http://www.edps.europa.eu/
8. mailto:[email address]
9. https://www.imfs-frankfurt.de/fileadmin/...
10. https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/...
11. mailto:[FOI #9133 email]
12. mailto:[ECB request email]
13. mailto:[AsktheEU.org contact email]
14. https://www.asktheeu.org/en/help/officers

Dear Compliance and Governance Office of the European Central Bank,

On 19 March 2021 you decided to extend by 20 working days the time-limit for responding to my application of 26 February 2021. This application concerns the deliberation on the role of (un)employment in the ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the interpretation of the secondary mandate.

According to my information the extended deadline for this access to documents request expired on 20 April 2020. I would like to kindly remind you of this deadline and ask you to make a decision on my request within 7 working days, that is by 4 May 2021 the latest.

Yours sincerely,

Nik de Boer

Access to documents,

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    2021 04 26 Reply to request for public access to ECB documents LS PS 2021 18.pdf

    43K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr de Boer,

 

Please find attached the reply to your request received on 26 February
2021 for access to European Central Bank (ECB) documents.

 

We would like to clarify that the time frame mentioned in article 7 of
Decision ECB/2004/3 refers to working days (excluding weekends and
holidays).  Therefore, the end of the extended deadline (40 working days)
will be reached tomorrow, 27 April 2021.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[email address]

 

 

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

Dear Ms. Senkovic and Ms. Karydi,

I would like to thank you for your answer to our document request of 26 February pertaining to the internal deliberation on the secondary mandate in the Governing Council between 1998 and 2003 and any documents pertaining to the secondary mandate in the context of the 2003 review of the monetary policy strategy. The note of 29 January 2002 entitled “Clarifying the nature of ECB support for general economic policies in the Community” provides clarity on how the ECB decided to interpret its secondary mandate in 2002. I am grateful that you have granted us access to this document.

In your answer to our application, you write that this is the one document that fits our request. However, from speaking to ECB officials who participated in discussions on the secondary mandate at the time, it has become clear to me that the interpretation of the secondary mandate was subject to significant debate. This also follows from the speech by Christian Noyer at the 2020 ECB Watchers conference, where he states that the interpretation of the objectives of the ECB as spelled out in the mandate “was heavily debated towards the beginning of the monetary union, circa 2000, in the Governing Council of the ECB”. (https://www.imfs-frankfurt.de/fileadmin/...)

For my research project it is crucial to understand what the nature of these discussion was and what the competing viewpoints were. For this reason, I would like to request disclosure in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 also of:
• any minutes of the internal discussions on the secondary mandate in the Governing Council between 1998 and 2003; and
• any minutes of discussions on the secondary mandate in the context of the 2003 review of the monetary policy strategy.

Like my previous request, this document request concerns documents related to internal deliberations within the ECB’s organs. They are, however, part of a decision-making process that has been long concluded, while the outcome of the decision-making is also publicly known. At the same time there is an overriding public interest in learning about how the ECB has historically interpreted its secondary mandate. This will clarify the ECB’s choices in the past and will allow researchers like me to better understand how the reasons that informed these choices should be evaluated in the present-day context. Such research is pivotal to grasp what the legal possibilities and limitations are for the ECB to address pressing concerns such as environmental sustainability and economic inequality as part of its mandate.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Nik de Boer
Assistant Professor in constitutional law, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Access to documents,

Dear Mr de Boer,

Thank you for your reply. Hereby we acknowledge receipt of your new
request, received on 30 April 2021, for access to European Central Bank
(ECB) documents.

In accordance with [1]Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents, as last amended, you will receive a reply within 20 working
days.

Yours sincerely,

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[2][email address]

Privacy notice: By submitting a request for access to documents, the ECB
collects information about you for the sole purpose of processing your
request in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents. All personal data are processed in accordance with EU Data
Protection Law (Regulation (EU) 2018/1725). The ECB is the controller for
the processing of the personal data. The recipients of the data will be
the ECB’s Compliance and Governance Office and, only when necessary, other
institutions within the European System of Central Banks, the Single
Supervisory Mechanism, or EU institutions.

You have the right to restrict processing and to access, rectify and under
certain conditions to request deletion of your stored personal data. You
can exercise your rights by contacting the ECB's Compliance and Governance
Office ([3][email address]) or the ECB’s Data Protection
Officer ([4][email address]).Furthermore, you have the right to address
the European Data Protection Supervisor ([5]www.edps.europa.eu) any time
regarding this processing of your personal data.

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

Access to documents,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr de Boer,

Please find attached the ECB’s reply to your request for access to
European Central Bank (ECB) documents.

Yours sincerely,

 

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[1][email address]

 

 

From: Access to documents
Sent: 04 May 2021 08:53
To: 'Nik de Boer' <[FOI #9133 email]>
Subject: RE: [EXT] RE: RE: Acknowledgement of receipt - access to
documents request - Deliberation on the role of (un)employment in the
ECB’s monetary policy strategy and the interpretation of the
secondary mandate

 

Dear Mr de Boer,

Thank you for your reply. Hereby we acknowledge receipt of your new
request, received on 30 April 2021, for access to European Central Bank
(ECB) documents.

In accordance with [2]Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents, as last amended, you will receive a reply within 20 working
days.

Yours sincerely,

Compliance and Governance Office

DG Secretariat

European Central Bank

Sonnemannstrasse 20

60314 Frankfurt am Main

[3][email address]

Privacy notice: By submitting a request for access to documents, the ECB
collects information about you for the sole purpose of processing your
request in accordance with Decision ECB/2004/3 on public access to ECB
documents. All personal data are processed in accordance with EU Data
Protection Law (Regulation (EU) 2018/1725). The ECB is the controller for
the processing of the personal data. The recipients of the data will be
the ECB’s Compliance and Governance Office and, only when necessary, other
institutions within the European System of Central Banks, the Single
Supervisory Mechanism, or EU institutions.

You have the right to restrict processing and to access, rectify and under
certain conditions to request deletion of your stored personal data. You
can exercise your rights by contacting the ECB's Compliance and Governance
Office ([4][email address]) or the ECB’s Data Protection
Officer ([5][email address]).Furthermore, you have the right to address
the European Data Protection Supervisor ([6]www.edps.europa.eu) any time
regarding this processing of your personal data.

 

 

Afficher les sections citées

Dear Ms. Senkovic and Ms. Karidi,

Thank you very much for your reply and the explanation, as well as considering our request.

Yours sincerely,

Nik de Boer