Athens honours the Italian banker who “saved” the EU

Mario Draghi

Mario Draghi
The prestigious Academy of Athens, yesterday honoured the outgoing European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, for his role in rescuing the European economic and monetary union and for his response and actions in dealing with the debt crisis in the Eurozone.

"His contribution is significant and is universally recognized," said Academy of Athens President Stefanos Imellos.

During his acceptance speech, Mario Draghi referred to stabilising policies in a monetary union and said that true convergence is important for the cohesion of a monetary union, therefore the right national and EU policies are vital in helping countries hurt by the recent crisis, especially Greece, to reach convergence.

Draghi went on to defend the policy of negative interest rates and quantitative easing the ECB had adopted, and said these policies should be applied for the long-term and stressed that the resilience of the Eurozone after several years of crisis proved critics wrong.

Many countries, especially Greece, had exerted significant effort to prosper as part of the monetary union, he said, and he noted that the euro enjoys high popularity as a currency.

The Italian banker also pointed out that the monetary union was not ready to face the crisis - which few people foresaw - noting that there is enough experience now to know what stabilizes countries and what the threats are to this stability.

Mario Draghi was introduced by former caretaker Prime Minister and former ECB Vice President Loukas Papademos, who said that Draghi's contribution to the recovery of the Eurozone was "decisive". Among Draghi's achievements were tackling the 2011-12 and 2015 financial crises, and "contributing constructively and decisively" to resolving Greek bank recapitalisation and debt restructuring problems, Papademos noted.

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