The European Central Bank has had a long and only partly successful struggle to persuade repesentatives of its member national banks to make fewer public comments on monetary policy. Ironically, given the ideological proximity of the ECB and the Bundesbank, the Germans are among the main offenders.
When Mr Duisenberg grumbled last month that markets should listen to him more than to other ECB policymakers, he was taking aim at Ernst Welteke, the Bundesbank president. Mr Welteke had disconcerted markets only days before the ECB cut rates on November 8 by appearing to throw doubt on the likelihood of a cut.
Mr Welteke also seems to have trouble keeping his own troops in line. He observes wryly that at recent ECB council meetings "I have been presented with a list of how many presidents of the regional Bundesbank branches have expressed their opinion in the run-up to an interest rate decision".