Coeure says no need to change ECB's mandate

BERLIN (Reuters) - European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Wednesday there was no need to change the ECB's mandate to cope with the euro zone crisis, echoing earlier comments from his colleague Joerg Asmussen.

Asmussen warned against changing the EU treaty at a public hearing at Germany's top court, which is assessing the legality of the ECB's plan to buy up debt of stricken euro zone member states after more than 35,000 Germans filed complaints.

The plaintiffs say the program violates the bank's mandate of achieving price stability and amounts to illegal back-door financing of governments.

Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Coeure said the ECB's independence was "under strain" and that the central bank did not need a new mandate to find a way out of the crisis.

"We don't have to change the mandate, we don't have to change the objectives," Coeure said during a panel discussion.

"A crisis changes the intensity of monetary policy measures, it may change the instruments central banks are using ... but it doesn't change the objective. If we want to have short-term leeway to react to the crisis ... we need long-term objectives."

If the ECB needed to provide more stimulus, it would be within the ECB's framework, he said and added that long-term inflation expectations were firmly anchored.

"We don't see long-term inflation expectations departing from 2 percent, being de-anchored away from 2 percent," Coeure said.

(Reporting by Noah Barkin and Reinhard Becker; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)