European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said at a news conference on Thursday that low interest rates, kept steady from last month, are key to supporting a budding and very fragile economic recovery in Europe.

The ECB governors unanimously voted to keep its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent. “The governing council confirms that it expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time,” Draghi said. “This expectation continues to be based on an unchanged overall subdued outlook for inflation.”

July data tentatively confirmed economic stability in the euro zone area, he said, adding that fears over imminent interest rate increases were unwarranted.

ECB Draghi with symbol 2012

ECB President Mario Draghi last month cited weak credit flows as one reason for maintaining low rates.

Photo: Reuters

“Overall, euro area economic activity should stabilize and recover at a low pace,” Draghi said after the monthly central bank policy meeting.

As long as inflation remains subdued, the ECB’s monetary policy will stay accommodative with low interest rates, he emphasized.

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European nations, however, must continue to cut government budget deficits, he warned, especially amid high youth unemployment and weak labor markets.