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Ex-ECB chiefs criticise bond buying

The European Central Bank's two former chief economists have criticised the institution's announcement to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds.

Otmar Issing and Juergen Stark said in separate interviews that the central bank was overstepping its mandate.

In September the ECB announced plans to buy bonds to help lower borrowing costs for struggling nations once they get assistance from Europe's rescue funds and meet certain conditions.

Mr Issing told the BBC in an interview to be broadcast today that the bond buying programme "is something very dangerous because here the ECB is doing the business that is not done by governments".

German news magazine Der Spiegel quoted Mr Stark, who stepped down over policy disagreements last year, as saying the ECB had "overstepped its mandate" and had started to finance government debt.

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