Schaeuble urged lawmakers to grill ECB's Draghi: Bild newspaper

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble ratcheted up his criticism of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi this week ahead of Draghi’s visit to the German parliament next week, the Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.

Schaeuble, a fierce critic of Draghi, urged members of the German finance committee to ask tough questions about Draghi’s monetary policy when he testifies before the committee on Wednesday, the newspaper said, citing meeting participants.

The ECB has been easing policy aggressively to boost growth and inflation in recent years with little to show for its efforts, fueling arguments that monetary policy was at its limits and governments needed to help out.

Schaeuble earlier this month rejected Draghi’s criticism of Germany’s export surplus, saying the ECB had not changed its monetary policy which has led to a weaker euro which in turn boosts German exports.

Munich-based Ifo economic institute has said Germany’s current account surplus would probably hit a new record of 278 billion euros ($313.28 billion) this year, overtaking that of China again to become the world’s largest.

Draghi is due to address the finance and budget committees of the German parliament on Wednesday.

Relations between Europe’s largest economy and the ECB have been tense due to criticisms by German government officials, who argue that the ECB’s ultra easy monetary policy is eroding the savings of thrifty Germans and profit margins for banks.

Schaeuble has also blamed the ECB’s policies for the recent rise of a right-wing anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany, which made huge gains in two regional elections.

Draghi last spoke in the German parliament in 2012.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Cynthia Osterman