European Central Bank President Mario Draghi brushes off German criticism of his ultra-loose monetary policy and vows to use all the tools at his disposal for ''as long as needed'' (Rough Cut only - no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) European Central Bank President Mario Draghi brushed off German criticism of his ultra-loose monetary policy on Thursday and vowed to use all the tools at his disposal for "as long as needed". He said the ECB's policy was working, which helped boost the euro. In a staunch defence of the bank's independence from political interference, Draghi also stepped up his calls on euro zone governments to help get the region's economy on a more solid footing through fiscal policy and more ambitious reforms. Speaking to reporters after the bank's governing council as expected kept key rates on hold and refrained from further stimulus moves, Draghi said the independence of the Frankfurt-based ECB was anchored in the EU treaty. SOUNDBITE (English) PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, MARIO DRAGHI, SAYING: "Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, we decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. We continue to expect them to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases." SOUNDBITE (English) PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, MARIO DRAGHI, SAYING: "The risks to the euro area growth outlook still remain tilted to the downside. Our recent monetary policy decisions have improved overall financing conditions, which should support the outlook for consumption and investment. However, uncertainties persist and relate, in particular, to developments in the global economy and to geopolitical risks. According to Eurostat, euro area annual HICP inflation in March 2016 was 0.0%, compared with -0.2% in February, reflecting mainly a rise in services price inflation. Looking ahead, on the basis of current futures prices for energy, inflation rates could turn negative again in the coming months before picking up in the second half of 2016." SOUNDBITE (English) PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, MARIO DRAGHI, SAYING: "Overall, the monetary policy measures in place since June 2014 have clearly improved borrowing conditions for firms and households, as well as credit flows across the euro area. The comprehensive package of new monetary policy measures adopted in March this year underpins the ongoing upturn in loan growth, thereby supporting the recovery of the real economy." SOUNDBITE (English) PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, MARIO DRAGHI, SAYING: "We have a mandate to pursue price stability for the whole of the euro zone, not only for Germany. This mandate is established by the Treaty, by the European law. We obey the law, not the politicians ... because we are independent, as stated by the law."