Between the end of December 2014 and Wednesday, the list of interviews given to German newspapers by ECB policy makers runs as follows: Chief Economist Peter Praet spoke to Börsen-Zeitung; President Mario Draghi spoke to Handelsblatt and Die Zeit; Executive Board member Sabine Lautenschläger spoke to Der Speigel; and Executive Board member Benoît Cœuré spoke to Die Welt.
Since the end of December, there were few other comments by members of the governing council, either as media interviews or speeches. Clearly, one national audience matters above all.
In addition to the volume of interviews given to the German press, there was also a significant change in approach. Through a strikingly personal interview with Die Zeit, Mr. Draghi sought to boost his anti-inflation credentials by recalling how runaway price rises in Italy during the 1970s made money that had been set aside for his and siblings’ education “disappear into thin air.”
There are two, related conclusions one can draw from this charm offensive. Firstly, many leading policy makers believe they are likely in the near future to decide a significant change in policy. Secondly, they expect that policy to go down badly in Germany.