Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel says it's wrong to blame the ECB's policy for the root cause of the euro zone' economic problems. But, as David Pollard reports, he still doesn't like money printing.
These German collectors are queuing for the fruits of German money printing, not ECB. Or to be precise, minting: these special five-euro coins struck for Germany only - their similarity to an old 5-DeutscheMark coin sparking a wave of nostalgia. As for the here and now, German growth will stay at 1.7 per cent this year, according to new forecasts from the economy minister. Though he was less sanguine about the ECB. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING (on ECB): "Printing money is not a sustainable economic policy." But it would be wrong to blame the central bank for the euro zone's sluggish recovery. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING (on ECB): "This is not a call for the ECB to do anything. Rather, the heads of state and government and the European Commission must agree on growth and competitiveness and to promote programmes." But the row over ECB QE and low rates is getting louder - at least in Germany. The ECB holds its latest policy meeting this week. Gabriel's remarks piling on top of those from German banks, finance minister Schaeuble - and other politicians. With, perhaps, half an eye on nationwide elections next year. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "The political backdrop for Angela Merkel has deteriorated over the course of the last few months, and in a sense, I guess, it plays positively for German politicians, and certainly the CDU/CSU to push back against the ECB to try and boost their own poll ratings." In the meantime, you can still exchange your old DeutscheMarks for the single currency if you want to. Germans with a love of their old money - and the economic revival it symbolised - were apparently hoarding nearly 7 billion euros worth of marks at the end of last year.