Mario Draghi’s statement before the European Parliament is available here.
Some key paragraphs from statement:
Yet we are at a difficult stage at present. We have set up these new mechanisms, but their positive effects on the credibility of government fiscal policies are not yet visible. And the government changes that have taken place in some of the more exposed countries have not yet had much of an effect on the continuing fragility of financial markets.
Fundamental questions are being raised and they call for an answer. At the heart of these questions are not only the credibility of governments’ policies and the actual delivery of the promised reforms, but also the overall design of our common fiscal governance.
I am confident the new surveillance framework will restore confidence over time. I am also quite sure that countries overall are on the right track. But a credible signal is needed to give ultimate assurance over the short term.
What I believe our economic and monetary union needs is a new fiscal compact – a fundamental restatement of the fiscal rules together with the mutual fiscal commitments that euro area governments have made.
Just as we effectively have a compact that describes the essence of monetary policy – an independent central bank with a single objective of maintaining price stability – so a fiscal compact would enshrine the essence of fiscal rules and the government commitments taken so far, and ensure that the latter become fully credible, individually and collectively.
We might be asked whether a new fiscal compact would be enough to stabilise markets and how a credible longer-term vision can be helpful in the short term. Our answer is that it is definitely the most important element to start restoring credibility.
Other elements might follow, but the sequencing matters. And it is first and foremost important to get a commonly shared fiscal compact right. Confidence works backwards: if there is an anchor in the long term, it is easier to maintain trust in the short term. After all, investors are themselves often taking decisions with a long time horizon, especially with regard to government bonds.
A new fiscal compact would be the most important signal from euro area governments for embarking on a path of comprehensive deepening of economic integration. It would also present a clear trajectory for the future evolution of the euro area, thus framing expectations.
On the precise legal process that brings about a move towards a genuine economic union, we should keep our options open. Far-reaching Treaty changes should not be discarded, but faster processes are also conceivable.
Whatever the approach, companies, markets and the citizens of Europe expect policy-makers to act decisively to resolve the crisis. It is time to adapt the euro area design with a set of institutions, rules and processes that is commensurate with the requirements of monetary union.