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Eurogroup chief Dijsselbloem blasts ECB critics

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(WASHINGTON) - Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Thursday sharply dismissed critics of the European Central Bank's efforts to fight a stall in the eurozone economy.

Asked at the IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington why "everyone" says the ECB's stimulus efforts are too small, Dijsselbloem bristled, noting that its programs are only just beginning.

"Not everyone is saying it won't be enough," he retorted, adding "all these people who are absolutely sure it won't be enough don't know what they are talking about."

"Because how can we know the effect when these operations are yet to take place?"

The ECB in June decided to start its TLTRO program -- or targeted longer-term refinancing operation, which injects liquidity into the economy through banks -- which so far has grown slowly.

At the beginning of October it also decided to launch start purchases of covered bonds and asset-backed securities (ABS) in the market to hold down long-term interest rates.

But that is only to start at the end of this month.

Dijsselbloem took aim especially at the influential Financial Times newspaper for attacking the effort before it took off.

"I think it was the day after the June decision of the ECB governing council; the FT already said in its newspaper, 'it's not enough, you need to do more'," he recalled.

Pointing at the need for governments to support sagging economies, he defended the ECB's limited role.

"We should expect a little less from the central banks and a little more from the politicians," he said.

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