Governing Council member Ignazio Visco believes the ECB should maintain some of the flexibility built into its pandemic bond-buying program for post-crisis stimulus measures. "I think flexibility should remain — we surely have to discuss how to alter our purchase programs. It will help protect against unforeseen shocks and prevent fragmentation from resurfacing."

Visco's remarks contribute to the escalating dispute over the ECB's post-crisis policies. Officials have a difficult decision on what to do next if pandemic bond purchasing ends in March as scheduled, with consumer prices rising at a rate of 3.4% annually, significantly faster than the bank's target of 2%.

ECB's Visco: ready to use all available instruments - Breaking The News

Many policymakers, including Visco, have dismissed the current surge as primarily transitory, but some have begun to caution that if it stokes higher wages, inflation might become more entrenched. This has caused a rift within the Governing Council about how supportive the central bank's post-Covid policies should be.

ECB's Villeroy suggested last week that the ECB should maintain some of the flexibility of the pandemic bond-buying program as a "contingent option" for future asset purchases. Others have voiced reservations about changing their regular tools.

Visco stated that increasing the amount of EU-issued debt that can be purchased is "something that we may end up doing," but that it has to be discussed further.

When addressing inflation in the Eurozone, Visco stated that higher commodity prices and supply disruptions were driving rising inflation and "even though these pressures may persist for a few months and well into the next year, I still believe this is primarily transitory."

He also stated that market expectations for an ECB interest rate hike in late 2022, were "not that compatible" with the bank's guideline, which states that rates will remain at rock bottom until inflation is stable at 2%.