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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 15 aprile 2013 alle ore 15:55.


And such an agenda also comprises a number of European measures to fully complete the Single Market especially in the area of services and to allow for higher labour mobility within the euro area.
Since the crisis started considerable progress has been made in making structural reforms in euro area countries, particularly those under an EU/IMF programme. And the painful measures taken are starting to bear fruit.
In Greece, Ireland and Portugal current account balances have improved by more than 7 percentage points (relative to GDP) between 2008 and 2012. In Spain the current account has improved even more substantially.
Also, we have seen reductions in unit labour costs. Ireland has seen an 18 percentage point improvement relative to the euro area average. In Greece, Portugal and Spain the improvement has been about 10 percentage points. As I have recently stressed to the Euro Area Heads of State and Governments, narrowing the gap between wage and productivity growth is absolutely essential for improving competitiveness in euro area countries. [4]

To conclusively address the root causes of the crisis these efforts need to be maintained and, in some countries, stepped up. In the meantime, however, what I referred to earlier as the symptoms of the crisis also need to be tackled. Fiscal positions need to be maintained on a sustainable path and balance sheet weaknesses in the banking sector need to be repaired.
And let me be clear: undertaking structural reforms, budget consolidation and restoring bank balance sheet health is neither the responsibility nor the mandate of monetary policy. Monetary policy can only avert an abrupt deleveraging that would have been conducted in an environment of panic and fire sales. And this is what we have done in order to avoid deflationary downward spirals that would have prevented us from delivering on our mandate of preserving price stability in the euro area.
Monetary policy can support the reform progress by safeguarding price stability and anchoring inflation expectations. But it cannot substitute for actions that other actors, including the private sector itself, must take.
Completing the euro area's institutional architecture
In addition to the role of misguided or imprudent national policies, the narrative of the crisis that I have just spelled out clearly points to some serious shortcomings in the institutional architecture of the euro area.

To begin with, the only policy sphere where some form of supra-national surveillance was in place was fiscal policy. And even in this domain, the mechanisms that were envisaged to prevent and correct unsustainable fiscal performance by Member States proved to be lacking. No framework was foreseen for monitoring competitiveness and heterogeneity within the euro area and for enforcing corrective action when needed. What's more, in interconnected financial systems an entirely national perspective on bank regulation and supervision turned out to be insufficient. Finally, no crisis management framework had been set up to complement the national shock absorption capacity of euro area countries.


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