European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested the worst of the sovereign debt crisis may be over, saying the “darkest clouds’ over the euro area have receded due to decisive policy steps last year.
“We can begin 2013 on a more confident note, precisely because significant progress was made during 2012,” Draghi said in a speech in Frankfurt late yesterday. “The darkest clouds over the euro area subsided. Europe’s leaders recognized that monetary union needs to be complemented by a financial union, a fiscal union, a genuine economic union and eventually a deeper political union.”
Draghi’s comments are the latest to indicate the ECB chief is increasingly confident that the three-year debt crisis has been contained and that the 17-nation currency bloc can emerge from recession later this year. He defended the ECB’s so-far untapped bond-purchase plan, which has calmed fears of a euro break-up on financial markets, saying it is fully in line with the central bank’s price-stability mandate and doesn’t threaten its independence.
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