The ECB and its OMT Programme (en)

Currently being negotiated before the German Federal Constitutional Court, the role of the European Central Bank (ECB) and its bond purchasing programme OMT (Outright Monetary Transactions) is discussed intensely in Germany and in Europe. DIW Berlin and the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) jointly organized the conference "The ECB and its OMT Programme" (video) to provide a forum for a balanced and reasonable debate on this controversial issue.

On 2 September, well renowned  economists came together in the premises of the KfW Bankengruppe to discuss the pros and cons of bond purchases by the ECB and to point out ways to lead Europe out of the crisis.

The conference was initiated by the economists Marcel Fratzscher (President of DIW Berlin and Professor for Macroecoomics and Finance at the Humboldt University Berlin), Francesco Giavazzi (Professor of Economics at the Bocconi University in Milan), Richard Portes (Professor of Economics at London Business School and President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research - CEPR), Beatrice Weder di Mauro (Professor for International Macroeconomics at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and former member of the German Council of Economic Experts) and Charles Wyplosz (Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva), who was the only initiator that could not join the conference personally.

Speakers and Presentations

Martin F. Hellwig from the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods gave a presentation on "Governments, Banks and Monetary Policy in the Crisis" (PPT, 226 KB)).

Otmar Issing, President of the Center for Financial Studies, talked about "Challenges to Monetary Policy" (PDF, 70.4 KB).

The speech of Otmar issing was followed by a talk of Jens Ulbrich, Head of Economics Department of the Deutsche Bundesbank, on the topic of "The Role of Monetary and Fiscal Policy in EMU Crisis Resolution".

Benoît Cœuré is member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank and held a speech on "Outright Monetary Transactions, one year on" (PDF, 119.02 KB).

The keynote speeches were followed by two discussion panels in the afternoon. In the first session, chaired by Francesco Giavazzi, the economists Guido Tabellini of the Bocconi University, Lorenzo Bini‐Smaghi of the Harvard University, Harald Uhlig of the University of Chicago and Jörg Zeuner from the KfW Bankengruppe talked about the topic "A Financial Market and Financial Stability Perspective on the OMT".

The second session "A Monetary Policy vs. Fiscal Policy Perspective on the OMT" was chaired by Beatrice Weder di Mauro and joined by experts Michael C. Burda of Humboldt University Berlin (presentation Burda (PPTX, 0.68 MB)), Giancarlo Corsetti of University of Cambridge, Jordi Gali of Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Franz Mayer of University Bielefeld.