As the longest serving governor, it was up to the Portuguese to deliver his speech at the farewell dinner of the President of the European Central Bank.
“Dear Mario, dear friends.” This is how the governor of the Bank of Portugal, Carlos Costa, addressed the audience at the farewell dinner in honour of the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi. The Italian is preparing to leave office at the end of the month, this Thursday being the last meeting he will chair, and the Portuguese governor has spared no compliments.
“When Mario took office as president of the ECB eight years ago, Europe was deeply immersed in the sovereign debt crisis,”, recalled Carlos Costa. “Eight years later, the euro is here to stay and has much stronger foundations. Mario’s contribution to this result cannot be overemphasized. His leadership as President of the ECB has shown extraordinary capabilities,”.
Besides listing Draghi’s capabilities in fighting the crisis – referring to actions that shared opinions and generated harsh criticism, especially from Germany – Costa argued that with “balanced and determined decisions” and “bold unconventional policies”, the ECB “saved the euro”.
The governor of the Bank of Portugal said that Draghi understood the problems, had the “courage” to seek solutions, “showed authority” and had the “ability to think – and act – outside the box”. Carlos Costa thanked the vision and intuition, the capabilities and for leaving a credible, mature and independent ECB.
The Portuguese also recalled that Mario Draghi did not take the advice to cancel the ECB Forum in Sintra, two years ago, due to the fires that affected Portugal. “I can’t thank you enough for the trust and solidarity you’ve shown,” he concluded. “A different decision would have been a huge blow not only for Portugal but also for the ECB Forum. Once again, it proved to be right”.