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The ECB and politics in an era of low interest rates

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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi addresses a news conference at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt on Sept. 3.   © Reuters

The European Central Bank is often criticized for its low interest rate policy -- especially in Germany, where this is felt to be an attack on savers. However, this argument fails to recognize that real interest rates have been falling since the 1980s. The reasons for this are the subject of heated debate, but the fact is that there have been long-term changes in global savings and investments due to demographic and structural factors. Monetary policy has not caused this situation, yet it has to find a response. The ECB will have to extend its program, but politics has to deliver on long-needed structural reforms and foster growth through sensible investments, in particular regarding refugees.

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