Oct. 31 - Jean-Claude Trichet finishes up as head of the European Central Bank, handing the reigns to Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi who takes over on Tuesday. Kirsty Basset reports.
It's been a big final week for Jean-Claude Trichet. After eight years as President of the European Central Bank he's standing down. He's played a central role in fighting the euro zone debt crisis. (SOUNDBITE)(English) OUTGOING HEAD OF THE ECB, JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET SAYING: "As you can see even in my last week, we are quite heavy. I didn't sleep for instance between the European Council and yesterday so you can see it is a demanding job, even until the last moment." Trichet wouldn't say what advice he would give to Bank of Italy governor Mario Draghi, who succeeds him on Tuesday. But with a poor economic outlook in Europe his successor has a tough job ahead. The ECB is the world's second most powerful central bank. It's bought more than 170 billion euros of bonds from Greece, Spain and Portugal, as well as Italy and Spain, since May last year to lower their debt. Many are wondering whether Draghi will continue with the controversial policy. Last week he seemed to signal that the bank would - but Trichet said too much had been read into his comments. (SOUNDBITE)(English) OUTGOING HEAD OF THE ECB, JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET SAYING: "I don't think that Mr Draghi said that. Because Mr Draghi is part of the governing council since the very beginning so I think there has been an over-interpretation." The change in leadership comes less than a week after euro zone leaders agreed on a package to stem the region's debt crisis. It includes debt relief for Greece, plans to recapitalise banks and leverage the bailout fund. Nonetheless, traders in Frankfurt weren't phased on Monday. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRADER AT CLOSE BROTHERS SEYDLER BANK, OLIVER ROTH, SAYING: "The markets are not reacting to this change of the ECB top. Simply because we are expecting more or less the same policy coming up. We are looking forward to the next ECB meeting where we are expecting also a lowering of the interest rates from actually 1.5 percent to 1.25." Mario Draghi chairs his first ECB meeting on Thursday. And many are wondering how he'll deal with the debt crisis in his home country, after Italy's debt hit record highs last week. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.