"We are aware that Spaniards are going through bad times," Draghi tells Congress

The president of the ECB meets with Spanish politicians behind closed doors

Leftist-green group ICV leaks videos of private meeting

Mario Draghi waves before a meeting at La Moncloa prime ministerial palace in Madrid. / DANI POZO (AFP)

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said Tuesday that he understood the frustrations felt by many Spaniards because of the government’s harsh reforms but asked for patience because they will “take time” to produce positive results.

Speaking at a news conference after meeting behind closed doors with deputies in Congress, the ECB chief said that he came to Spain “to listen as well as recognize all the efforts” that are being undertaken by the government.

“We are well aware that people are going through bad times, including the ones who have lost their jobs,” he said.

Draghi went on to say that Spain has made a lot of improvements in policies regarding the banking industry and jobs sectors, “where there is greater flexibility, but there is still a lot to be done.”

He also commended the government for making advances to increase competition and reduce the deficit, which he acknowledged is “a very complicated road” that no country has been able to complete.

The ECB president agreed to accept an invitation by Congress to discuss different issues regarding Spain and European fiscal policies. Draghi made a similar appearance before the German parliament recently. The Socialists and other opposition groups protested the ruling Popular Party’s (PP) decision to hold the meeting behind closed doors.

But the leftist-green ICVposted videos of Draghi’s private appearance before lawmakers on its website.

“Despite signs of improvement, adjustments are still not producing visible improvements in the everyday lives of people,” Draghi is seen to say on the video. “For that reason, it is understandable the frustrations of some sectors of the population. The results of the reforms will take time.”

Nevertheless, he said that the reforms are for the overall benefit of Spaniards.

Congress speaker Jesús Posada said that the ICV’s actions to release the video were “unfortunate” but clarified he would not take any disciplinary measures.

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