ECB strongly prefers Greece stay in euro: Draghi
(FRANKFURT) - The European Central Bank would like Greece to stay in the eurozone, its president Mario Draghi said on Wednesday, amid continued political uncertainty that threatens to force it out of the bloc.
"Our strong preference is that Greece will continue to stay in the euro area," Draghi told a conference here, adding that it was not up to the central bank to decide the fate of the Greeks.
"Since the (EU) Treaty does not foresee anything on exit, this is not a matter for the ECB to decide," Draghi said.
He reiterated that the bank's sole duty was "keeping price stability over the medium term in line with treaty provisions" and "preserving the integrity of our balance sheet."
Greece's inability to form a government since inconclusive elections in May has threatened to force it out of the eurozone, as the country goes to the polls a second time on June 17, according to the Athens News Agency.
For the ECB, keeping the 17-nation bloc intact has always been sacrosanct, but this latest round of Greek turmoil has seemingly reduced their attachment to the debt-wracked nation.
Belgian central bank chief Luc Coene has recently talked of an "amicable divorce" in the Financial Times.
And Irish central bank governor Patrick Honohan has said that a Greek departure from the eurozone "isn't necessarily fatal" and could "technically" be managed.
Draghi hailed the "difficult and significant reforms" carried out by several eurozone countries to tackle the crisis, while urging them to do even more.
He also said Spain had asked the ECB to help the government reform its banking sector -- a request the bank was considering.
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