ECB chief comes down hard on Italy's economy

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ECB President Mario Draghi has come down hard on Italy. Photo: Daniel Roland/AFP
15:33 CEST+02:00
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi came down hard on his home country on Wednesday, blaming Italy's economic hardship on bureaucracy, low private investment and a lack of structural reforms.

He was speaking during a press conference at the ECB in Frankfurt a day after figures revealed that Italy’s economy had slipped back into recession in the second quarter, following on the heels of a decline in growth in the first quarter.

Draghi said that countries with "convincing structural reform programmes are doing much better" than those without.

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who came to power in February after ousting his predecessor Enrico Letta for failing to do enough to revive growth in Italy, has made difficult and often contentious reforms the keystone of his leadership. Among them are legal and spending reforms and a new electoral law.

In response to a question from a French journalist on whether Draghi would spend his holiday in Italy, he replied: "Yes, I will not participate in the recovery of my country."

Despite the setback, some economists are optimistic that Italy will return to growth over the next few quarters, but only if crucial reforms are implemented.

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READ MORE HERE: Why Italy's economy could soon get better

Meanwhile, Draghi said that growth across the eurozone remained weak and fragile while unemployment is still high despite some labour markets showing signns of improvement.

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