ECB goes on the defensive as Germany accuses it of pushing voters to the far-right

The bank's expansive policies have struggled to make an impact...

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi has responded to criticisms of the bank's recent policies by defending the independence of the institution.

"We obey the law, not the politicians because we are independent," the Italian official replied when asked if he was concern about recent criticisms of the bank from high-profile German politicians.

He said that the issue had been discussed by the ECB’s governing council and that there is unanimous support for the bank's policies, and that they are working, but he added that they need more time.

The comments come as a backlash against the ECB gains momentum in Germany. Its finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has been a vocal critic of the bank - he says that it is causing "extraordinary" problems in Germany and that its policies have become one of the factors pushing voters towards the far-right anti-immigration AfD party.

In recent regional elections, the party secured the strongest result for a right wing party since the second world war.

The party opposed chancellor Angela Merkel’s open refugee policy and also criticised the ECB's loose monetary policies which are unpopular in Germany.

Speaking on Friday (April 15th) he remarked, "I said to Mario Draghi … be very proud - you can attribute 50% of the results of a party that seems to be new and successful in Germany to the design of this policy."

The ECB announced today that eurozone interest rates will remain at their historic lows.

In Germany, low-interest rates have hit smaller saving banks across Germany and the country's savers.

Addressing the media and fielding questions regarding tensions between the ECB and Berlin, Mr Draghi said that he has a good relationship with Mr Schaeuble.