ECB’s Draghi speaks after central bank leaves rates unchanged

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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is speaking at a press conference Thursday following the institution’s decision to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The central bank’s chief is mostly expected to stick to his guns on monetary policy throughout the speech, despite an escalating standoff between the European Union and Italy over the latter’s 2019 spending plans.

The EU made the unprecedented move on Tuesday to reject Italy’s draft budget for next year, saying the country’s government was “consciously and openly” going against its commitments. Rome has three weeks to draft up a new fiscal plan.

The bloc’s central bank in June outlined its intention to end its huge bond-buying program by the end of the year. It also said interest rates will not arrive until after the summer of 2019, “and in any case for as long as necessary.” The ECB’s quantitative easing package has been in place since March 2015.