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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 23 febbraio 2012 alle ore 18:26.


Di seguito la trascrizione integrale dell'intervista del Presidente della Bce al Wall Street Journal

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, spoke with Brian Blackstone, Matthew Karnitschnig and Robert Thomson of The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 22 about the importance of austerity in Europe, the Greek bailout deal and the ECB's recent decision to exempt its Greek bond portfolio from losses.

WSJ: What inning are we in with Greece until we know if we're at the resolution to end all resolutions?
Mario Draghi: I don't know baseball. But if we didn't have that package finalized, there would be no game. So this could be the beginning of a new world for Greece where the pending financing problems have been addressed. Now the policies will have to be enacted. The Greek government has undertaken very serious commitments in the fiscal policy and in the structural policies areas. But there are implementation risks and probably oncoming elections. The Eurogroup gave reasonable probabilities to the success of the program if the measures, especially the structural measures, were undertaken.
Also one could see that there is a different awareness in the Greek public opinion to the extent that what's happening is painful but necessary. The number of people, who favor default, inflation or even exit from the euro doesn't seem to be prevalent in Greece.

WSJ: Do you think the acute phase of the crisis has passed? It struck us this week that once the deal was decided, we didn't see the kind of elation we've seen after past programs.
Draghi: It's hard to say if the crisis is over. Let us look at the positive changes of the last few months. There is greater stability in financial markets. Many governments have taken decisions on both fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. We have a fiscal compact where the European governments are starting to release national sovereignty for the common intent of being together. The banking system seems less fragile than it was a year ago. Some bond markets have reopened.
But the recovery is proceeding very slowly and remains subject of downside risks. I was surprised too that there was no elation after the approval of the package and this probably means that markets want to see the implementation of the policy measures.

WSJ: When you look at the risk profile of the package and the deal, is the greatest risk arising from the streets of Greece, or is the greatest risk arising from a lack of growth in Greece?
Draghi: In the end it seems the greatest risk is lack of implementation. Some measures are directly targeted to enhance competitiveness and job creation. Others foresee a radical fiscal consolidation. The two are very complementary to ensure a return to growth after the unavoidable contraction in economic activity.

WSJ: But some people say Greece is really suffering depression-like conditions, GDP off 15% or 16% peak to trough. What is your view of these austerity policies in the larger strategy right now, forcing austerity at all costs in order to bring the budget deficits down?
Draghi: This is actually a general question about Europe. Is there an alternative to fiscal consolidation? In our institutional set up the levels of debt-to-GDP ratios were excessive. There was no alternative to fiscal consolidation, and we should not deny that this is contractionary in the short term. In the future there will be the so-called confidence channel, which will reactivate growth; but it's not something that happens immediately, and that's why structural reforms are so important, because the short-term contraction will be succeeded by long-term sustainable growth only if these reforms are in place.

WSJ: Austerity means different things, what's good and what's bad austerity?
Draghi: In the European context tax rates are high and government expenditure is focused on current expenditure. A "good" consolidation is one where taxes are lower and the lower government expenditure is on infrastructures and other investments.

WSJ: Bad austerity?
Draghi: The bad consolidation is actually the easier one to get, because one could produce good numbers by raising taxes and cutting capital expenditure, which is much easier to do than cutting current expenditure. That's the easy way in a sense, but it's not a good way. It depresses potential growth.

WSJ: Which do you think are the most important structural reforms?
Draghi: In Europe first is the product and services markets reform. And the second is the labor market reform which takes different shapes in different countries. In some of them one has to make labour markets more flexible and also fairer than they are today. In these countries there is a dual labor market: highly flexible for the young part of the population where labor contracts are three-month, six-month contracts that may be renewed for years. The same labor market is highly inflexible for the protected part of the population where salaries follow seniority rather than productivity. In a sense labour markets at the present time are unfair in such a setting because they put all the weight of flexibility on the young part of the population.

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