ECB’s Vasiliauskas Faces Calls to Quit From Lithuanian Lawmakers
European Central Bank Governing Council member Vitas Vasiliauskas is facing calls at home in Lithuania to step down, with some lawmakers claiming he’s not cooperating adequately with a probe into the 2008 financial crisis.
About 40 legislators from the ruling coalition signed a resolution Thursday demanding he resign or be dismissed by President Dalia Grybauskaite if he refuses. Vasiliauskas said he saw no basis to seek a confidence vote in his leadership of the Baltic country’s central bank.
“It would be good if critics would identify specific legal grounds, if any, for a confidence vote,” Vasiliauskas said. “I don’t see any grounds for resignation.”
Central banks around the world have come increasingly under political attack as populist sentiment increases. Austria’s central bank warned of the risk to its independence on Thursday, and monetary authorities in the U.S., Turkey, India, euro zone and the U.K. are among those which have felt the heat from politicians.
The move by Lithuanian lawmakers comes just three days before presidential elections in which Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is seeking to boost his campaign by reviving talk of the crisis. The events of 2008 remain a touchy subject in Lithuania, which was a testing ground for the European Union’s austerity policies and implemented large-scale cost-cutting.
The government last month instructed prosecutors to probe the actions of regulators and the central bank during the crisis, though Vasiliauskas only became governor in 2011.
Parliament is expected to discuss the resolution on May 14.
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