BERLIN — Germany’s finance minister today welcomed a pledge by the European Central Bank’s president to do what is needed to save the euro, though he also stressed that politicians must themselves act to resolve countries’ problems.
Mario Draghi said Thursday the ECB would “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.” His comments raised expectations he could step in to lower high borrowing costs for countries like Spain and Italy, possibly by buying government bonds.
The ECB has bought bonds to fight the crisis over the past two years but has kept the program on pause for months. The bond purchases were not popular in Germany, which feared the ECB was taking on excessive risk and claimed governments should bear the responsibility of restoring confidence in their economies by reducing public debt.
A ministry statement today said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble welcomes Draghi’s pledge to “take the necessary measures to secure the euro in the framework of the existing ECB mandate.”
“The condition for this is that policymakers also take and implement the necessary measures to deal with the financial and confidence crisis,” it added. “In the first place stand the reform efforts of the countries themselves.”
The statement went on to list efforts that Spain and Italy have embarked on to get their budgets in order and embark on structural reforms, and said that programs launched by Portugal and Ireland in exchange for bailouts “are on the right track.” It didn’t mention Greece.
The Finance Ministry did not say anything about what measures the ECB might take.