European Central Bank

Greece's troubles are 'urgent', and it can only save itself: ECB's Draghi

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
Ralph Orlowski | Reuters

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said on Saturday that Europe is rooting for Greece to resolve its problems, but the Hellenic Republic is the only party that can save itself.

Greece is struggling to manage a financial crisis, and requires a major cash infusion to meet looming debt obligations without defaulting. Against that backdrop, Draghi told reporters that "We all want Greece to succeed."

However, he hinted that Greek officials were running out of time to strike a deal with creditors and prevent a worsening of the crisis. "The answer is in the hands of the Greek government," Draghi added.

At the International Monetary Fund's spring meeting in Washington, Draghi said that Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) support would continue for as long as Greek banks remained solvent, and they had sufficient collateral.

He said that Greece would need to continue substantive dialogue with its creditors, the key to ensuring that Greece was able to avoid default. The latter scenario is something Draghi stated flatly that he did not wish to contemplate.

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The ECB chief said the central bank wanted to see economic growth, fairness, fiscal sustainability and financial sustainability happen in the country. Still, he added that "much more work is needed," and it was "urgent" that Greece move to address festering concerns.

Regardless, Draghi added the Eurozone is now in a better place to fend off the short-term danger of contagion from Greece.

Separately, the central banker said the 12-nation currency bloc was showing tentative signs of recovery, helped by the drop in oil prices and the effects of the ECB's own loose monetary policy. However, the prospects for "vibrant growth" were still far off, he added.

We won't go back

When pressed by reporters on the subject of a "Grexit," or Greece's being ejected from or leaving the 12-nation currency, Draghi referred to a comment he made three years ago. At the time, he insisted the euro was irrevocable, and reiterated that idea on Saturday.

It would be "pointless" to bet against the single currency, Draghi said in 2012, adding on Saturday that he would "say exactly the same words today."