Draghi praises Spain's efforts to cut deficit

Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is praising Spain's efforts to get its deficit under control and said conditions the country would need to meet to get help with its borrowing costs "don't need to be punitive."

The ECB has said it could buy countries' bonds on the secondary market, lowering their interest rates — if governments agree with the other 16 countries that use the euro on steps to improve their finances.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is holding off asking for help out of concern that Spain may be slapped with harsh austerity conditions from the eurozone.

The ECB chief said at a news conference Thursday that "signficant progress has taken place" in Spain, adding that a number of measures had been "announced, legislated, and implemented" in only a short period of time.

Draghi made the remarks at his news conference after the ECB left its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.75 percent.

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