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Dragi laments economic risks

February 1, 2016

ECB chief Mario Draghi has said that downside risks to the eurozone economy have increased due to the recent volatility in some emerging markets. But he insisted the central bank's policies were cushioning the impact.

ECB chief Mario Draghi speaking
Image: Getty Images/AFP/D. Roland

ECB President Draghi told European Parliament lawmakers Monday he was positive about growth prospects in advanced economies, but warned the outlook in emerging countries was subdued.

"The ECB is willing to contribute its share to ensuring that the recovery remains firmly on track," he said in a debate broadcast live online.

But the ECB chief did not hide his concerns about the political uncertainly "surrounding the European project," alluding to a British referendum on whether to stay in the EU.

"A solution that would anchor the United Kingdom firmly within the EU while allowing the euro area to integrate further would boost confidence," Draghi told lawmakers.

Caught in crisis mode - Stress at the ECB

Policy change in March?

He used the occasion to once again defend the central bank's controversial monetary policy of extensive bond purchases known as quantitative easing (QE), saying the eurozone would be worse off without that measure, meaning the economy would be in outright deflation and showing much lower growth rates.

But Draghi admitted he was alarmed by the degree of volatility in financial and commodity markets as well as by a growing number of geopolitical trouble spots.

He promised the ECB's current monetary policy would be scrutinized at the next meeting of the governing board in early March, taking into account the new macroeconomic projections.

hg/sri (dpa, Reuters, AFP)