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Trichet: Budget Cuts Won't Lead to Recession

Friday, 09 Jul 2010 07:41 AM

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet dismissed warnings that drastic and simultaneous spending cuts planned by euro zone governments could send the 16-country bloc back into recession.

U.S. policymakers have called for continued stimulus to keep momentum in the global recovery, while many economists and academics have raised fears that austerity measures on the cards in Athens and a clutch of other European capitals could snuff out the euro zone's nascent recovery.

"We (ECB) are totally against the view that reducing public expenditures will hinder economic growth," Trichet said on Friday at an ECB watchers conference organized by the Goethe University Frankfurt's Center for Financial Studies.

"Consolidation measures will help turn the current upturn into sustained growth."

Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, another of the ECB's Executive Board, cautioned that authorities would have to tread carefully.

"The task is going to be very difficult... not only for Greece."

"These fiscal adjustments are going to be tough, and that is why (this) has to be accompanied by a strategy for growth, balanced growth," he said.

The ECB took a cautiously confident view of the euro zone's recovery on Thursday after it held the bloc's interest rates at a record low 1.0 percent.

Trichet said on Friday it was too soon to sound the all-clear over the crisis, but backed eagerly awaited bank stress tests -- currently being carried out on a sizeable chunk of Europe's financial sector -- to help the recovery process.

"These tests will increase transparency and enhance investors' confidence in Europe's banking sector," he said.

The crucial thing for a lasting recovery is for governments to get their finances back in order, he said.

"Just like consumers and countries, governments cannot live beyond their means forever. Fiscal authorities need to look beyond the current cyclical upturn. There is no alternative to that."

 

Bini Smaghi said Europe had taken the right decisions during crisis but was critical of politicians' slow response to the recent debt market troubles.

"Countries in the euro area have reacted late but they reacted, under the pressure of the markets."

He added further concerns. "We do not assume that all governments and agents have learned their lessons," he said.

In a copy of Trichet's speech released by the ECB, he also backed harsh punishments for governments that flout Europe's deficit limits.

"In the most severe cases of persistent non-compliance (countries not complying with stability pact rules), a limitation or suspension of voting rights should be considered.

"We are now at a stage in which we have to finalize new rules and regulations that will help to make our economies more resilient... It is a very important phase and it requires our full attention," he added.

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European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet dismissed warnings thatdrastic and simultaneous spending cuts planned by euro zone governments couldsend the 16-country bloc back into recession.U.S. policymakers have called for continued stimulus to keep momentum in...
trichet,europe,economy
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2010-41-09
 

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