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Philip Lane, the European Central Bank’s chief economist. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Philip Lane, the European Central Bank’s chief economist. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

During the week I joined a fascinating webinar given by the brains and policy guru behind the European Central Bank, Philip Lane, its chief economist. He looks like a man with the job he always wanted and is comfortable with it.

The reason I used the term “brains” is very simple: Lane is now the intellectual driver of policy. As I listened to him, I heard a combination of Ben Bernanke’s deep appreciation of monetary history and Mario Draghi’s sharp understanding of the power of the central bank and the breathtaking array of tools at his disposal. Lane grasps what is at stake and is prepared to act comprehensively.

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