The euro is "irreversible" and authorities will do whatever is necessary to preserve the monetary union, Europe's top central banker said Thursday.
At a press conference explaining the European Central Bank's decision to hold steady on interest rates, ECB President Mario Draghi assured that policy makers "will consider undertaking further non-standard measures" if conditions deteriorate.
The European Central Bank may craft plans in the coming weeks to make outright purchases of bonds, Draghi said, while warning the ECB cannot act alone to drive down borrowing costs.
"The Governing Council, within its mandate to maintain price stability over the medium term and in observance of its independence in determining monetary policy, may undertake outright open market operations of a size adequate to reach its objective," he said.
However, political leaders in the euro area need to push ahead with fiscal consolidation, structural reform and European institution-building "with great determination," Draghi said. "The ECB cannot replace governments."
The ECB refrained from announcing any major changes to monetary policy this morning. Following a modest rate cut at the previous meeting the central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent. The decision was in line with economists' expectations.
Voting members discussed another interest rate cut at this week's meeting, but decided to take a "wait-and-see" approach. The decision to stand pat was not unanimous, Draghi said.
Spain and others have achieved "significant progress" on fiscal reforms, but European governments must stand ready to activate the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), he added.
The EFSF is a multi-billion fund to combat the sovereign debt crisis that threatens to spark a global recession.
by RTT Staff Writer
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