World Bulletin/News Desk
The euro zone is not in danger of breaking up despite some analysts' worse case scenarios, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said, judging that the bloc was inevitably marching towards closer union among its members.
Asked in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde if the euro were in danger, Draghi said: "No, absolutely not. We see analysts imagining the scenario of a euro zone blow-up."
"They don't recognise the political capital that our leaders have invested in this union and Europeans' support. The euro is irreversible," he added.
In the long term, the euro would need to rest on a foundation of greater integration among euro zone countries, Draghi said.
"All movement towards financial, budgetary and political union is for me inevitable and will lead to the creation of new supranational bodies," he said.
European leaders took a step towards greater integration last month at a Brussels summit where they agreed to put the ECB in charge of supervising banks and gave the ESM rescue fund the power to recapitalise troubled banks.
However, the summit provided only brief relief to investors. Concerns about Spain have returned to the fore, driving the country's 10-year bond yields above the 7-percent danger level on Friday.
European and U.S stocks also fell and the euro hit record lows against the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand currencies in the face of increasing investor fears that the Spanish government may seek a full-blown bailout.
Draghi poured cold water on the prospect that the ECB could take action to calm the situation, saying that its mandate did not allow the central bank to resolve states' financial problems.
The International Monetary Fund has urged the ECB, which is legally forbidden from financing governments, to play a greater role fighting the crisis, suggesting that it could be given lender-of-last-resort functions.
At the summit in June, EU leaders broadened the ECB's role to include supervising banks in hope that the move would cut the risk that troubled lenders' problems could spread to sovereign borrowers.
Draghi said that the ECB's monetary policy and bank supervisory activities would have to be kept separate in order to avoid conflicts of interest and suggested that an "independent structure" could be built.
Weighing in on the LIBOR rate fixing scandal, he warned that it was undermining confidence in a cornerstone of the global financial system.
Turning to the economic outlook in the euro zone, Draghi said he did not see the risk that the bloc as a whole would enter a recession and that the situation would gradually improve towards the end of the year and the beginning of 2013.
The ECB cut its interest rates to a record low earlier this month to breathe life into the ailing euro zone economy amid signs that inflation pressures were subsiding.
Draghi said that the ECB, which strives to keep euro zone inflation at a rate close to but less than 2 percent, was prepared to take action in the case that the risk of deflation emerged.
Although the likely consumer is Europe, which would require pipelines to pass through Turkey, companies may decide instead to export gas from the Levant basin to Jordan, Egypt or the Asian continent.
The ambassadors did agree to add more people and entities to the EU's asset freeze list, using expanded criteria including Russian companies that help to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty
Washington has pressured companies and governments not to buy crude from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), but it has stopped short of banning U.S. firms from buying it outright.
The whistleblower's email said GSK used its own employees and Syrian distributor Maatouk Group to make illicit payments.
The hackers broke into a database storing details of people who had registered for ECB conferences, visits and other events, the bank said.
Russia generated $356 billion from oil, gas exports last year, data shows.
While stopping far short of targeting physical energy supplies, EU ministers for the first time this week raised the idea of restricting Russian access to oil and gas technology.
They were among nine organisations and three people added to the EU's Syria sanctions list, published in the bloc's Official Journal
Land reform remains a sensitive issue in South Africa, where 20 years after the end of apartheid the white minority still holds around 87 percent of commercial farm land.
Talks are reportedly underway for a number of investment projects, including in pharmaceuticals and automotive assembly, but no final investment agreements are expected this week.
The yuan will be the world's third largest currency after the U.S. dollar and euro, a Chinese report predicts.
Unemployment currently stands at 12.7 percent in Kenya and affects 30 percent of the country's population
GM so far this year has recalled about 14.7 million vehicles worldwide with switch-related issues and has linked at least 16 deaths to those issues.
The deal includes hydropower and nuclear power plants in the South American country.
State-run think tank Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) reported earlier this month that a twin-engine version of the fighter jet is expected to cost around 8.5 trillion won
Western officials have repeatedly warned Iranian counterparts over the past six months that more economic pain is a risk for an OPEC member whose oil exports have already shrunk to a fraction of what they could have been