In his first speech as President of the Bundesbank, Joachim Nagel warned that inflation may continue elevated for longer than currently projected, urging his colleagues at the European Central Bank to be vigilant.

"It's especially important for confidence that monetary policy focuses on the goal of price stability," Nagel said. "Therefore , central banks should maintain their independence and interpret their mandate narrowly."

Inflation in the Eurozone reached a record 5% in December and is rising even faster in Germany, prompting economists and politicians to call for tighter policies. While acknowledging that temporary factors contribute to current pressures, Nagel also described the medium-term picture as "exceptionally uncertain."

"It's true that prices could grow less than projected," he said. "However, I now see a greater risk that inflation rates may remain elevated for a longer period of time than is currently predicted.  In any case, monetary policy must be on guard."

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Nagel said that his arguments at the ECB's Governing Council will be consistent with the Bundesbank's position. The German institution warned of emerging inflation risks early on, maintained that an emergency bond-buying programme remained tightly linked to the pandemic, and battled to keep the ECB's stimulus response flexible.

"Despite the uncertainties," Nagel added, "one thing is absolutely clear: If price stability warrants it, the Governing Council must act and modify its monetary-policy course."

The commitment to combating inflation was echoed by ECB President Christine Lagarde, who also spoke at the Bundesbank event marking Nagel's arrival on Tuesday.

"We understand that growing prices are a source of concern for many people, and we take that concern very seriously," she said. "However, people can trust that our commitment to price stability is unwavering, which is crucial for the strong anchoring of inflation expectations and currency confidence."