BERLIN European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen said on Sunday the euro zone is in better shape than a year ago thanks to positive budget consolidation efforts in individual countries, the European Union's fiscal pact and ECB actions.
Speaking on German network ARD, Asmussen said the euro zone was in better shape now than a year ago despite the weak growth in the fourth quarter of 2012. He cited in particular Italy prime minister Mario Monti's budget consolidation efforts.
"We're in better shape now than 12 months ago due to several factors," he said. "There was positive steps taken by individual member states, such as the budget consolidation by the Monti government.
"There was also the fiscal pact agreed at the European Union level," he added, referring to the European budget discipline treaty. "And there was also the actions of the ECB that were within our mandate. So we're in better shape even though growth in the fourth quarter was weak."
(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Birgit Mitwollen)