‘Anti-euro voices have faded over past year’

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SINTRA: Anti-euro sentiment has faded over the past year since the British referendum to quit the European Union, according to European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.

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Speaking late Monday at an annual forum organised by the ECB in Sintra, just outside the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, Draghi said he detected a “big difference” in sentiment compared with a year ago.

Draghi said he recalled his feeling of “sadness” immediately after the shock Brexit vote last year.

At the time, economic growth in Europe “was still weak and political uncertainty high…. (People) who were always against the euro, the European project, a minority of European citizens, were more vocal than ever,” Draghi said.

But since then, “the silent majority of Europe was given a new voice,” the ECB chief said.

“The outlook for economic recovery improved, and the vocal cries for the demise of the European Union and the euro (have) become just barely heard whispers,” he continued.

Even if the eurozone’s economic problems had not disappeared completely, “the outlook for recovery is better,” the central bank chief said.

And the ECB’s monetary policy had played a role in this, he insisted.

The problems still facing the single currency area stemmed from the financial crisis.

Productivity was not increasing, particularly against the backdrop of the ageing population.

The key question now, given the relatively favourable economic situation, was “how to make this growth sustainable and less reliant on monetary stimulus,” Draghi said.

The ECB invites central bankers, academics, analysts and banking experts every year to its forum in Sintra.

Draghi was scheduled to give a speech to the gathering later on Tuesday.

AFP

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