“When you protect the market to the exclusion of everything else, the only way you find out what’s happening is when everything has collapsed all around you,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the University of Maryland’s journalism college and former executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Who’s getting the short stick here? It’s the public, who doesn’t know what its government representatives are up to.”
Public access to information about how the ECB works has become even more constrained since the central bank was chosen in 2010 to chair the European System Risk Board, a pan-EU supervisor that monitors markets and financial risk.
In 2011, months after Bloomberg’s information request, the ECB added a fresh exception to the instances in which access to documents can be refused, allowing it to withhold information if the stability of the financial system or in a member state could be undermined.
“Financial stability is an economic concept and not a legal one and can be applied to pretty much anything,” said Hubert de Vauplane, a partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in Paris.