ROME (Reuters) -Mario Draghi, the former Italian prime minister and European Central Bank president, will be asked to advise the EU on how to keep its economy competitive as it transitions to greener energy, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Draghi, 76, is considered by some as the saviour of the euro for having calmed markets by promising to do "whatever it takes" when he chaired the ECB between 2011 and 2019 during a financial crisis that posed an existential threat to the currency bloc.
Von der Leyen said in her annual State of the Union speech in Strasbourg, that the European Union needed to look further ahead and set out how to fight inflation, tackle a labour shortage and spur economic growth while also asking industry to lead on the clean transition.
"This is why I have asked Mario Draghi – one of Europe's great economic minds – to prepare a report on the future of European competitiveness. Because Europe will do 'whatever it takes' to keep its competitive edge," she said.
A source close to the matter said Draghi had accepted the job and "is very interested in the topic".
The report is expected to be delivered next June or July, the source added.
Draghi was prime minister of Italy from February 2021 to October 2022, leading a unity government that navigated the COVID-19 crisis and the turbulence caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
He called for an EU fiscal union in this year's Martin Feldstein lecture and again last week in an Economist article.
"Forging a closer union will ultimately prove to be the only way to deliver the security and prosperity that European citizens crave," Draghi wrote in the magazine.
(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Alexander Smith and Kevin Liffey)