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ECB President Draghi defends bond-buying program

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi faced German lawmakers today to defend the bank's new unlimited bond-acquisition program. Germany's central bank has spearheaded the opposition to the program.

The European Central Bank's President Mario Draghi (pictured center) told German lawmakers on Wednesday that his controversial bond-buying plan won't create inflation and will not allow struggling countries to backslide on economic reform efforts.

The ECB's plan to buy unlimited amounts of short-term government bonds of troubled euro countries has been met with skepticism in Germany and resistance from the head of the country's central bank.

In prepared remarks delivered at the beginning of his meeting with the lawmakers, Draghi addressed point by point their concerns about the program - dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT).

"OMTs will not lead to disguised financing of governments... OMTs will not compromise the independence of the ECB," he said in his statement.

He said interventions under the program "are designed to send a clear signal to investors that their fears about the euro area are baseless."

While Draghi makes regular visits to the European Parliament, he rarely speaks to national lawmakers. Despite the criticism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel backs the ECB plan.

The ECB has yet to buy any bonds through the program, which was announced in September.

hc/mz (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)