“Whatever it takes” is the mantra of the moment. Hammered out to an audience of Eurosceptic hedge fund managers at the height of the 2012 eurozone crisis by Mario Draghi, then president of the European Central Bank, the words have come to stand for the technocratic determination to meet a crisis with all necessary force.
It should be no surprise that the phrase is enjoying a renaissance in 2020. Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, we need brave talk. The irony is that when Mr Draghi first uttered the assurance it was less a confident assertion than an act of defiance. The ECB did not have the licence to act. Nor did he have the approval of his own team in Frankfurt. Instead, he gambled that the intensifying pressure of the crisis would forge the eurozone into a truly integrated fiscal and financial unit. In such a system, the ECB could then graduate to being the sword and shield of the euro.
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