Mario Draghi concluded his final press conference as head of the ECB with an elegy on the success of his eight years as president rather than with advice for his successor Christine Lagarde.

He noted that the popularity of the euro has never been so high, a result, perhaps of his famous promise to do whatever it takes to save the united currency. The euro was boosted by Mr Draghi's statement and comments, rising about 40 points to 1.1165 but then falling below where it had been before the press conference at 1.1128, to 1.1114 by 10:11 EDT in New York.  

The ECB left its monetary policy unchanged as expected, after restarting it's quantitative easing policy at the September meeting. Mr. Draghi repeated his call for government help,  "If you want  to see higher rates sooner fiscal policy should be come more active."

"The main goal of the September monetary policy meeting was to cement the accommodative approach to the weakening [economic] outlook", said Mr Draghi. "Everything that has happened since our monetary decision in September has shown abundantly that our decisions were justified."

Mr. Draghi defended the bank's negative interest rates saying that the recent IMF critical comments were directed at the risks of long term negative rates.

The are many challenges ahead for Ms Lagarde and the ECB bankers. The most pressing is how to stimulate the eurozone economy when the main refinance rate is negative.

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