Draghi said to lay claim to ‘monetary’ name as EU eyes fund

by BLOOMBERG

FRANKFURT • Europe’s desire for a new institution that can keep an eye on government finances and rescue programmes might be gaining momentum — if political leaders can only come up with a better name.

The term “European Monetary Fund” has become so entrenched that it was included in European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union address last week, when he said he’d make concrete proposals for the body by December. The problem is that the region’s biggest user of the word “monetary” isn’t satisfied.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi (picture) suggested that an alternative name might be in order when he met with the region’s finance ministers in Tallinn last Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. His concern is that the label risks causing confusion with the institution he heads, which sets monetary policy for the 19-nation euro-area.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble alluded to the objection in a press conference in the Estonian capital the next day, even as he reiterated his own support for the idea.

“One or the other of the central bankers has pointed out that the term monetary fund can lead to misunderstandings because this is monetary policy and is the remit of central banks, which is completely undisputed,” he said.

The disagreement isn’t on the substance and isn’t serious enough to derail plans, with a solution likely to be found further down the line, the people said, asking not to be named because the finance ministers’ meetings are private. — Bloomberg