Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
ROME

ECB bond-buying plan rouses international support

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, September 7 - Leaders in Europe and abroad
expressed relief at the European Central Bank's plan to buy up
bonds from debt-burdened eurozone countries on Friday while some
cautioned governments to continue to take decisive action.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told his Swedish
counterpart Anders Borg in Stockholm that Italy and Spain, which
have been at the heart of the sovereign-debt crisis, have made
impressive progress in slashing spending and improving
competitiveness to help fix their economies.
The two countries' efforts have been "very impressive (and)
the numbers are very convincing," he said.
Schaeuble also said the European Central Bank's unlimited
bond-buying plan, announced Thursday, did not amount to the
start of monetary funding for state debt.
In the face of German media claims the new ECB policy
overstepped its brief in underwriting troubled economies' debt
with "blank cheques", the German government stressed Friday the
ECB was acting within its remit.
In the same vein, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
said his government supports solidarity in the eurozone.
"There is a very clear message from the German government:
we want to maintain unity in the eurozone," Westerwelle told
ANSA at an informal ministers' summit in Pafos, Cyprus.
Westerwelle was referring to the fallout following
Germany's dissenting view on the European Central Bank's plan
announced Thursday to launch a bond-buying measure to lower
borrowing costs for troubled states.
In the face of ECB President Mario Draghi's determination
to protect the euro, Germany's Bundesbank has harshly criticized
his bond-purchase plan.
But Westerwelle on Friday was positive about the direction
in which the eurozone was headed, as renewed market confidence
continued to push the spreads and yields on Italy's and Spain's
debt lower and lower following the announcement of the
bond-buyout plan.
"For the first time in many months I've seen a bit of light
at the end of the tunnel," he told ANSA. "The clear efforts of
Rome and Madrid have been remarkable".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel deflected questions about
the European Central Bank's (ECB) bond buying program, saying
that the institution is "strong and independent".
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose' Manuel Garcia-Margallo said
that the bond-buying plan to help reduce borrowing costs in the
region's most troubled nations "must be rapidly enacted".
He called ECB President Mario Draghi's unveiling of the
plan a "fitting parable,"
"The fact that a couple of statements can calm down the
markets proves it was the right thing to do," he added. "It
called for courage and political determination".
In Washington, the White House said that the bond-buyout
plan represents a "positive development" towards resolving the
euro crisis.
Speaking on American business channel CNBC, Alan Krueger,
chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, added
that the crisis continues to burden the US economy.
In Italy, Premier Mario Monti said that further measures
must be taken on a national level, adding he would stoke
economic growth in a number of ways but stressed that raising
public spending was not one of them.
The Italian business sector by and large hailed the ECB
plan.
"It is a choice of common sense, a small step forward
towards normalization," President Alberto Bombassei from brake
systems giant Brembo said on Friday.
The bank's move is "in line with what was expected" by
eurozone leaders, Bombassei said.

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