Jean-Claude Trichet was president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011. Photo: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“We need a joint special effort to cope with the crisis… but somebody will have to pay”

Exclusive interview: Former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet presided over Europe’s monetary response to the previous crisis. As the Covid-19 crisis escalates, he praises the current ECB’s fast initial response – while sticking to his long-held position that the mounting debt will have to be repaid.

5th Apr, 2020 - 22 min read

A decade ago, unravelling banks were dragging Ireland deeper into the financial crisis. In a last-ditch attempt to circumvent contagion, Nama was established just ten years ago this week. Eight months later, the late Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan would head to Brussels to request a €67.5 billion bailout from the EU and the IMF after receiving a letter from European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet outlining this as a condition for liquidity to keep flowing into the beleaguered Irish financial system.

Today, Trichet (77) looks on as Europe battles to contain another form of contagion – that from the Covid-19 pandemic – and its...

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