The idea of Italy leaving the eurozone, or 'Italexit', "does not have the slightest basis" in fact, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Wednesday in a verbal tussle with a Dutch MP. Draghi repeated that the euro is "irrevocable, and that's what the Treaty says".
Confronted with the possibility of the Netherlands quitting Europe’s monetary union by Eurosceptic MP Thierry Baudet, an angry Mr Draghi said: “The euro is irrevocable. This is the treaty. I will not speculate on something that has no basis.”
Highlighting the ECB’s role in the eurozone’s economic recovery, he said policies had helped create 4.5m jobs. “That’s the reality, the rest is speculation." In other remarks, Draghi said it was "up to the eurozone countries to prepare for the end of quantitative easing".
In two hours of sometimes sharp exchanges, Mr Draghi also faced questions about the transparency of the bank’s meetings and whether the ECB’s stimulus measures broke EU treaties.
Asked what would happen if a eurozone member needed to restructure its debt, he said: “We don’t want to speculate on the probability of things that have no chance of happening. Why are you asking me that?”
Mario Draghi added that recent data confirm that the rebound “is becoming increasingly solid and that downside risks have further diminished.”
He insists it’s too early to declare victory and start withdrawing stimulus measures. The bank says it will continue pumping 60 billion euros ($66 billion) a month in newly printed money into the economy through the end of the year, and beyond if necessary. The bank has also held its key interest rate benchmark at a record low of zero even as growth picked up.
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