Fri | Jun 18, 2021

ECB offers no new help

Published:Friday | May 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi offered little promise of any more quick fixes for the struggling economies of the 17-country Eurozone and urged governments to stay the course on tough spending cuts.

Speaking after ECB policymakers met under tight security in hard-hit Spain, Draghi said Thursday that the best hope for growth would be a long-term, Europe-wide push on deep economic reforms.

"We have to put growth back at the centre of the agenda," he said at a news conference after the bank's governing council left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of one per cent.

Austerity cuts that have been introduced by Eurozone governments to reduce debt are now seen as hurting growth and some European governments are calling for policies to focus more on stimulating economic activity.

These measures could include cutting red tape for businesses and reforming unbalanced labour market practices that make it hard to fire established employees, leaving younger ones facing a high likelihood of unemployment.

Draghi made his comments after an ECB meeting in Barcelona - one of two the bank holds each year away from its Frankfurt headquarters to underline its status as a pan-European institution. They follow similar remarks made last week when he acknowledged the need for a "growth compact" to go alongside the fiscal treaty signed earlier this year tightening limits on government spending and deficits.

- AP