Frankfurt, Germany, May 24: The European Central Bank celebrated its 25th anniversary Wednesday but soaring inflation in the eurozone threatened to put a damper on festivities at the Frankfurt-based financial institution.
To mark the occasion, around 200 guests will descend in the evening on the ECB’s imposing steel-and-glass tower on the banks of the Main river in Germany’s financial capital.
With music from French composer Claude Debussy playing, ECB president Christine Lagarde will cut a cake as she is joined by two of her predecessors, Jean-Claude Trichet and Mario Draghi.
But against a challenging economic backdrop, the mood may not be as jubilant as ECB bosses hoped.
Inflation in the eurozone surged to record highs over the past 12 months, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up energy prices and the recovery from the Covid pandemic caused widespread supply chain woes.
The closely watched indicator sat at seven percent in April — down from a peak of 10.6 percent in October, but still well above the ECB’s two-percent target.
Nevertheless, Lagarde sought to use the anniversary to highlight the achievements of monetary union.
The euro — used by nearly 350 million people across 20 countries with diverse economies — was “more than a currency”, she wrote in a blog post.
“It is the strongest form of European integration and stands for a united Europe that works together, protecting and benefiting all its citizens,” Lagarde added.
“And the ECB will always be a cornerstone of that effort.”