The President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, said on Thursday that the bank would continue its policy of economic stimulus in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the economy of the Eurozone, which includes 19 countries, continues to be threatened by the dangers associated with this disaster.
Speaking in Berlin, Lagarde noted that despite the start of vaccination in Europe, the increase in the incidence of COVID-19 across the continent had forced local authorities to introduce new restrictions that negatively affect the economy in the service sector in most European countries.
Last year, the ECB approved an emergency package of economic stimulus measures in connection with COVID-19. It involves buying government and corporate bonds designed to invest in European economies, keep interest rates low, and give businesses access to cheap credit. Companies used these loans to pay benefits to employees laid off during the pandemic.
In December, the bank added $ 607 billion to the package, bringing the program’s cost to $ 2.2 trillion, and extended the project until March 2022.
With the recent surge in contagion and the associated economic restrictions imposed across Europe, the ECB is ready to offer even more economic support, Christine Lagarde said.
Like the Federal Reserve in the United States, the ECB is the main monetary authority for countries that use the euro as their currency, setting interest rates and controlling national central banks. At the moment, 19 of the 27 EU countries use the euro as their main currency.