A tough day at the office for Mario Draghi.
The European Central Bank president has faced an unenviable grilling from Dutch MPs in the country’s parliament today which has left the usually implacable Italian riled.
Facing questions on a host of tough issues from the possibility of a Dutch eurozone exit, ECB stimulus measures as breaking EU treaty law, and the transparency of the central bank’s meetings, Mr Draghi has been getting hot under the collar in the two hour*, testy session in the Tweede Kamer.
When asked about the possibility of a eurozone member needing a debt restructuring, Mr Draghi snapped:
We don’t want to speculate on the probability of things that have no chance of happening. Why are you asking me that?
During one comic moment following the ringing of bells in the Tweede Kamer, one MP called out that the sound was the “end of your [QE] policies”.
Along with their German counterparts, the Dutch political establishment has been fiercely critical of the ECB’s stimulus measures which have been running for over two years and seen the central bank snap up more than €1.5tn of assets.
Confronted with the possibility of the Netherlands exiting monetary union from eurosceptic MP Thierry Baudet, Mr Draghi sniped:
The euro is irrevocable. This is the treaty. I will not speculate on something that has no basis.
Our monetary policy has created the recovery…[and led to] 4.5m jobs in the eurozone so far. That’s the reality, the rest is speculation.
And just to prove there were no hard feelings, MPs ended the session with a departing gift of a solar-powered tulip for Mr Draghi, to remind him of the country’s famous asset price bubble and financial crisis circa the mid-17th century.
“We want you to look at this tulip before your meetings”, said the head of the committee, Pieter Duisenberg – who is the son of the ECB’s first president, Wim Duisenberg.
Image via Tweede Kamer
*This post has been updated to reflect that the length of the meeting was about two hours.