Merkel ally lashes out at Draghi over plans to buy ‘junk’ paper

Move would scare Germans and help far right, says Bavaria state premier

File picture of Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

File picture of Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

 

An ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the European Central Bank and its president Mario Draghi in a rare public attack, telling Bild newspaper the ECB’s new schemes to bolster lending and buy asset-backed securities would scare Germans and help the far right.

“It’s only going to frighten a lot of people when ECB chief Mario Draghi opens up the central bank’s money tap and at the same time buys junk paper,” Christian Social Union chairman and Bavaria state premier Horst Seehofer said in an interview with Germany’s top-selling paper, to be published today.

Mr Seehofer, known for his populist statements, spoke about the rise of the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which won a surprise 9.7 per cent in a recent regional election.

Opposed to the euro zone bailouts Merkel has helped to engineer, the AfD has tapped a vein of discontent with career politicians and bureaucrats, carving out a niche to the right of the mainstream parties. “It is our job to criticise these debt-making policies – our country doesn’t need an AfD for that,” said Mr Seehofer.