title – Analysis: Stark ECB exit hits shaky euro zone at worst time

summ - Analysis: Stark ECB exit hits shaky euro zone at worst time

(Reuters) – The resignation of the top German official at the European Central Bank could hardly have come at a worse time for euro zone policymakers as they grope for a way out of the deepest crisis in the single currency’s 12-year history.

The ECB is the one institution that has kept the euro zone afloat in the sovereign debt crisis and prevented a bond market meltdown. The European Union has no federal government or common fiscal authority and speaks with many dissonant voices.

Juergen Stark’s departure from the ECB’s Executive Board in despair at the policy of buying government bonds to prevent the crisis spreading comes as policymakers in Berlin and beyond are preparing for the growing possibility of a Greek default.

It seems bound to complicate the next round of crisis management because it has injected the poison of inter-state politics as well as ideological division into the independent central bank.

“It’s the ECB that is holding the show together, so anything that weakens the ECB is bad news,” said an EU official involved in financial crisis management.