Asmussen Seeks European Reform as Calm on Markets Is ‘Deceptive’

European Central Bank Executive Board Member Joerg Asmussen said countries sharing the euro must pursue reforms as the “current calm” on financial markets is “deceptive.”

“Our announcement that we’d do everything to save the euro contributed to a calming of the markets,” Asmussen said in an interview with Germany’s Bild am Sonntag published today. “But that will not be sufficient. The current calm is deceptive.”

Asmussen said many of his colleagues agree with his stance of only allowing the ECB to purchase sovereign bonds if states agree to conditions. When asked by the Berlin-based newspaper if a majority of his colleagues are of that opinion, Asmussen said “we’ll see if that situation arises.”

While the sovereign debt crisis is under control after efforts made over the last two years, European Union leaders must develop a vision for the bloc at summits this month and in December to attract bond investors, Asmussen said.

Mario Draghi is “the best president the ECB could have in the current situation” and recent criticism of him in Germany isn’t appropriate, the newspaper cited Asmussen as saying.

Asmussen said the ECB can’t assist Greece by extending the maturities of its holdings of the state’s bonds or lowering interest on the debt. The country’s request for more time to implement austerity measures necessarily means more aid as its spending outstrips revenue, he said.

The ECB expects inflation to decline to less than 2 percent next year and the central bank “will continue to guarantee the stability of the common currency,” Asmussen said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at ncomfort1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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