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Eurogroup chief urges ECB to 'remain accommodative'

[DAVOS] Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem urged the European Central Bank to keep up a loose monetary policy to stimulate the struggling eurozone economy, just two hours before the ECB is widely expected to announce a massive bond-buying programme on Thursday.

"I expect them to remain accommodative in the recovery of the eurozone, that's key for me. And I'm sure that within their mandate they will do what is necessary and whether that's QE and what's the size and the design of the programme, we just have to wait," Mr Dijsselbloem told AFP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

The Eurogroup president underlined however that action by the ECB does not absolve individual governments from taking action to reform their economies and make them more competitive.

He pointed in particular to laggards France and Italy.

"The present governments in France and Italy are much more ambitious in terms of reforms but it still has to be done," said Mr Dijsselbloem, who is also finance minister of the Netherlands.

"Whatever the ECB does, it doesn't take us off the hook. We really have to step up pace in making our economies more competitive and that's something that the ECB cannot do for us."

"They can give us more time, they can take off a little pressure, they can be accommodative but they cannot fix the competitiveness of Europe."