Economy Briefs: Official says bank prefers Greece stay in eurozone

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GERMANY

FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank would like Greece to stay in the eurozone, its president, Mario Draghi, said Wednesday, amid continued political uncertainty that threatens to force it out of the bloc.

“Our strong preference is that Greece will continue to stay in the euro area,” Mr. Draghi told a conference here, adding that it was not up to the central bank to decide the fate of the Greeks.

“Since the [EU] treaty does not foresee anything on exit, this is not a matter for the ECB to decide.”

He reiterated that the bank’s sole duty was “keeping price stability over the medium term in line with treaty provisions” and “preserving the integrity of our balance sheet.”

Greece’s inability to form a government since inconclusive elections in May has threatened to force it out of the eurozone, as the country goes to the polls a second time June 17, according to the Athens News Agency.

For the European Central Bank, keeping the 17-nation bloc intact has always been sacrosanct, but this latest round of Greek turmoil has seemingly reduced its attachment to the debt-wracked nation.

Belgian central bank chief Luc Coene has recently talked of an “amicable divorce” in the Financial Times.

And Irish central bank governor Patrick Honohan has said that a Greek departure from the eurozone “isn’t necessarily fatal” and could “technically” be managed.

Mr. Draghi hailed the “difficult and significant reforms” carried out by several eurozone countries to tackle the crisis while urging them to do even more.

POLAND

Poland seeks competitive edge through new technology

WARSAW — Poland, which is expected to post the European Union’s highest growth this year, is hoping to further boost its competitive edge by investing in new information technology, the country’s e-government czar said Wednesday.

“In competitiveness rankings, [IT] infrastructure is part of what has for years now lowered our position,” said Michal Boni, Poland’s digital affairs minister in charge of ushering the country into the digital age, at a forum Wednesday.

Speakers at the Central and Eastern European Competitiveness Forum held in Warsaw focused on how ex-communist countries in the region could harness technology to improve their competitiveness.

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