Mario Draghi stresses ‘depth of interconnection’ between UK and Europe, in speech to bankers in City of London
Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has called for the UK to be “more European” and said the continent’s key institutions could face dissolution if the UK leaves the European Union.
In a speech to bankers in the City of London, Draghi said: “Europe needs a more European UK as much as the UK needs a more British Europe.”
He said he was not about to enter into a domestic policy debate but wanted to remind financiers of the “depth of interconnection” between the UK and Europe.
“With such deep interconnections, the UK and the euro area share a common interest: the stability in the functioning of our economic system and particularly our financial markets,” he said.
Draghi reminded the audience that all major eurozone banks had important branches in the City, and Britain’s banks were leading players in financial markets across Europe.
“More than twice as many euros are traded in the UK’s foreign exchange market [than] in all the countries of the euro area combined and more than in the US,” he said.
He added that the UK accounted for 40% of non-eurozone deposits in eurozone banks, and the single currency area was the UK’s largest export market, accounting for £200bn of exports last year.
The Italian central banker said he saw “encouraging signs of tangible improvements” in the UK, and said Ireland, Spain and Portugal had made impressive improvements in their export performance.
However, he called on Europe’s leaders to focus on “securing economic stability and prosperity for the people of Europe” by forging ahead with deeper integration.
“After a deep financial and economic crisis, we now see the restart of the European process, building on the agreement of the June 2012 summit,” said Draghi. “This process ultimately entails some transfer of national sovereignty in the areas of budget and structural policies.”
The speech, on Thursday night, came almost a year after he vowed to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. On Thursday night he said: “The answer to the crisis has not been less Europe but more Europe.”