seminal speech

Whatever It Took is Whatever It Will Take

Mario Draghi Holds Final Press Conference In Old ECB Building
Happy feat: Mario Draghi saved the euro by making a promise that investors never tested. Source: Getty Images

Even critics of Mario Draghi’s actions in the euro-zone debt crisis concede that the president of the European Central Bank may have been instrumental in saving the single currency by uttering three little words five years ago: The ECB was prepared to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, Mr. Draghi dropped into a speech before somewhat surprised bankers in London on 26 July 2012.

Although it would take the central bank two months to flesh out what he meant, the investors on the global financial markets heard what many of them had wanted to hear since the Greek sovereign debt crisis metastasized into a full-blown euro-zone crisis in the course of 2010: The ECB was finally willing to print money to buy the sovereign bonds of euro-zone governments beset by ever-rising public debt levels.

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