EU's Van Rompuy: ECB is instrument for euro zone stability

STRASBOURG Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:42am EST

STRASBOURG Dec 13 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank's role is both to fight inflation and to promote the stability of the euro zone, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said on Tuesday.

"The central bank is a stability instrument, stability in terms of their (focus on) inflation and stability with regard to the euro zone," Van Rompuy told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

EU nations except for Britain agreed stricter budget measures for the euro zone at a summit last week in Brussels in the hope that the pact may allow the ECB to step up its purchases of distressed euro zone debt to calm markets.

The ECB increased its lending to banks for up to three years but remains reluctant to take other measures that would go beyond what it sees as its main role of keeping inflation near 2 percent.

"We will see the full scope of decisions that have already been taken when it comes to liquidity for banks, even over a three-year period," Van Rompuy said. "That is completely unprecedented but that is what the European Central Bank did in the name of stability."

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