Germany welcomes Draghi's pledge to preserve euro
(BERLIN) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble welcomed Friday European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi's vow to "do whatever it takes" to save the euro but urged countries to pursue crucial reforms.
"The finance minister welcomes the latest remarks from president Draghi on taking the necessary measures in the framework of the existing ECB mandate to preserve the euro," his ministry said in a statement.
"The condition for this is that policy-makers introduce and implement the necessary measures to manage the financial and confidence crisis. The most important thing is the reform efforts of the member countries themselves."
A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier welcomed the comments as an affirmation of the ECB president's primary duty.
"Mr Draghi said the ECB would do everything to maintain the euro and the German government will do everything it can politically to maintain the euro," deputy government spokesman Georg Streiter told a regular media briefing.
"The ECB is fulfilling its role and the German government is too," he said, adding that Draghi's remarks were "uncontroversial."
At the same briefing, a finance ministry spokeswoman had no comment when asked about a possible relaunch of the ECB's programme for buying up the sovereign bonds of debt-wracked eurozone countries that are finding it difficult to drum up financing in capital markets.
But she stressed that Germany believed that there were no quick fixes for stricken countries and that they must continue "attacking the problems at the roots" with budget consolidation and structural reforms.
Schaeuble singled out Spain and Italy for taking "decisive steps" to rein in their public finances and restore stability and said programmes in Portugal and Ireland were "on the right track".
He added that institutional reforms at the European level were also crucial.
And he noted that EU leaders had tasked the head of the European Commission, the eurozone finance ministers' Eurogroup and the ECB with drawing up a roadmap for the future of the EU and the eurozone with stronger institutions.
Schaeuble did not mention the ECB bond-buying programme directly but the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, said it remained opposed to it.
"Our opinion regarding the SMP programme has not changed," a spokesman told AFP, referring to the Securities Market Programme set up in 2010.
Bundesbank officials argue the programme is tantamount to so-called monetary financing, where the central bank effectively prints money to pay off a country's debt, something which is expressly forbidden under the ECB's statutes.
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