Making values-oriented policy with banks: The sad example of the European Central Bank

Political banking for all of Europe is done in Frankfurt and Brussels – first and foremost in the ECB! But also in the European Union bodies that set the framework for the central bank and control it alongside the courts. In 2017, we already examined whether the ECB really pays sufficient respect to European values in its core business – codified in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Not much has changed to this day from the damning verdict at the time. Only two things are different in 2023: The ECB now at least takes climate risks into account in its business policy AND all relevant EU bodies are aware that the ECB accepts transactions with securities that are linked to numerous ethical controversies.

The European Central Bank and Its Role in a Sustainable Finance SystemThe second part of the changes has now been taken care of by the Global Ethic Research Group on Finance and Economics. Since beginning of this month at the latest, no one has any excuse for not knowing that the ECB’s operations do not meet the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as a minimum standard. We have made the problem completely transparent in an English-language book and, of course, provided the solution right in it, which has basically been on the table since 2017. The research volume reports, among other things, on how various EU bodies and the ECB itself have dealt with the issue in the context of a petition to the European Parliament and encourages a long overdue political positioning.

All central decision-making bodies of the EU and all top representatives of the EU parliamentary groupings have received personal mail from us: the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission and the heads of the political groups in the EU Parliament. Read the letter here, which is now on the desk of Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, Roberta Metsola, Manfred Weber, Stéphane SÉJOURNÉ, Marco Zanni, Terry Reintke, Martin Schirdewan, Ryszard Legutko and Iratxe García Pérez as a May greeting:

Fundamental Rights in the Eurosystem

Dear …

Since 2017, we have been drawing attention to the unlawful neglect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Eurosystem. We sincerely ask you to use your political weight to stop the promotion of fundamental rights violations in the Eurosystem as soon as possible. The fundamental rights of the European Union can be systematically undermined with a financial volume of currently € 17 trillion (= securities/marketable assets) – we are sure that you are aware of the implications of that.

A petition in the European Parliament about that problem has been open and unresolved for six years. In our research, we have discussed experiences with the handling of the simple and legitimate request to consistently apply fundamental rights in the European Central Bank as well. A preprint of the reference book about that, which will be published in June, is available […] as an excerpt free of charge online […]

The consistent application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European financial system is a basic prerequisite for the sustainability strategy of the European Union. It reflects not only the credibility of your personally taken oath of office, but also the credibility of all European institutions: Are European values consistently considered and implemented in all our institutions?

Please let us know when and in what form [you] will start to redesign instruments of the European Central Bank to match with EU Fundamental Rights.

With kind regards
Global Ethic Research Group on Finance and Economics

Prof. Dr Johannes Hoffmann,            Prof. Dr Harald J. Bolsinger,                 Dr. Bernd Villhauer
(Founding Board, Chairman)             (Advisory Board, Regulatory Policy)    (Board, Director Research)“

The letter was sent to:

  • President of the European Council
    Charles Michel
  • President of the European Commission
    Ursula von der Leyen
  • President of the European Parliament
    Roberta Metsola
  • President of the Group of the European People’s Party
    Manfred Weber
  • President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament
    Stéphane SÉJOURNÉ
  • President of the Identity and Democracy (ID) group in the European Parliament
    Marco Zanni
  • Co-President of the Greens/EFA parliamentary group in the European Parliament
    Terry Reintke
  • Co-President of the Left in the European Parliament – Group GUE/NGL
    Martin Schirdewan
  • Co-Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament
    Ryszard Legutko
  • President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament
    Iratxe García Pérez

The President of the European Council already has sent a confirm receipt of letter.