MEP urges transparency over ECB role in funding climate change

Molly has written to the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, to challenge the bank’s role in providing a ‘disguised subsidy’ to companies that are undermining goals on tackling climate change [1].

She joins other MEPs, including fellow Greens from around Europe, in demanding transparency around the ECB’s bond purchase raised within the Corporate Sector Purchase Programme (CSPP). A lack of disclosure on its bonds purchase has raised concerns that the ECB is helping fuel climate change by providing financial support to both oil and gas companies and car-makers, including, Shell, Repsol, Volkswagen and BMW. Molly said:

“Since June last year the European Central Bank has purchased more than €75bn of bonds from private corporations under its CSPP programme. These are large sums with the power to do great good but also great harm. There are concerns that the bonds are being used as a disguised subsidy to certain carbon-intensive sectors.

“We need openness on the origin of these bonds. If we have full transparency we can scrutinise the bank for possible sectorial bias and see whether they are contradicting our climate change goals.

“With Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement it is more vital than ever that Europe shows political leadership and becomes more ambitious about action on climate change. If Europe’s Central Bank is helping fund the polluters rather than supporting green sectors of the economy we need to know this so we can hold them to account.”

[1] Subject: Transparency of the CSPP Programme

Dear President Draghi,

Since June 2016, the European Central Bank has purchased more than 75bn EUR of bonds from private corporations under its CSPP programme. 

Since its implementation, the programme spurred a certain level of concerns[1], since it could be perceived as a disguised subsidy to certain companies[2].

Thus, regarding the CSPP program we would like to know if:

  • Following the excellent practice of the Bundesbank, is the ECB considering to ask all participating national central banks to disclose the full names (and not just ISIN codes) of the issuing companies whose bonds have been purchased under the CSPP programme? Will the ECB aggregate all the data into one single, user-friendly table to improve its transparency standards?
  • Will the ECB and the national central banks involved in the programme disclose the detailed amount of the Eurosystem’s holding for each bond being purchased, thereby allowing more accurate scrutiny against possible sectorial bias of the programme?
  • Is the ECB going to disclose greater details on this programme’s operating guidelines, in order to explain to citizens how the corporate bonds are being selected?

Kind regards,

Ramon Tremosa (ALDE)

Sander Loones (ECR)

Markus Ferber (EPP)

Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA)

Werner Langen (EPP)

Paul Tang (S&D)

Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen (ALDE)

Fabio de Masi (GUE/NGL)

Paloma Lopez-Bermejo (GUE/NGL)

Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA)

Molly Scott-Cato (Greens/EFA)

Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA)

Emmanuel Maurel (S&D)

Bernd Lucke (ECR)

Petr Jezek (ALDE)

Strasbourg, 18th of May 2017