ECB President Urges for Structural Reforms

In a speech during the Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, ECB President Mario Draghi showed concerns over high unemployment in the Euro Area and said that the strategy to reduce it has to involve both the euro area and governments.

Extracts from the Speech by the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium, Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

The only conclusion we can safely draw, in my view, is that we need action on both sides of the economy: aggregate demand policies have to be accompanied by national structural policies.

On the demand side, monetary policy can and should play a central role, which currently means an accommodative monetary policy for an extended period of time. I am confident that the package of measures we announced in June will indeed provide the intended boost to demand, and we stand ready to adjust our policy stance further.

We will launch our first Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operation in September, which has so far garnered significant interest from banks. And our preparation for outright purchases in asset-backed security (ABS) markets is fast moving forward and we expect that it should contribute to further credit easing. Indeed, such outright purchases would meaningfully contribute to diversifying the channels for us to generate liquidity.

Thus, it would be helpful for the overall stance of policy if fiscal policy could play a greater role alongside monetary policy, and I believe there is scope for this, while taking into account our specific initial conditions and legal constraints. These initial conditions include levels of government expenditure and taxation in the euro area that are, in relation to GDP, already among the highest in the world.

Unemployment in the euro area is a complex phenomenon, but the solution is not overly complicated to understand. A coherent strategy to reduce unemployment has to involve both demand and supply side policies, at both the euro area and the national levels. And only if the strategy is truly coherent can it be successful.

Without higher aggregate demand, we risk higher structural unemployment, and governments that introduce structural reforms could end up running just to stand still. But without determined structural reforms, aggregate demand measures will quickly run out of steam and may ultimately become less effective. The way back to higher employment, in other words, is a policy mix that combines monetary, fiscal and structural measures at the union level and at the national level. This will allow each member of our union to achieve a sustainably high level of employment.

Joana Taborda |
8/22/2014 8:15:10 PM