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Monetary policy can best support the euro area economy by promising to preserve favourable financing conditions for as long as needed, while shifting focus away from "instrument activism," ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel said Friday, as she stressed both the need to counter a rise in real long-term rates at the early stages of the recovery "even if reflecting improved growth prospects."

Eurozone bond yields have risen in recent weeks, taking a lead from a spike in U.S Treasury yields, with the 10-year German Bund last trading at -0.25%, up from -0.55% in late January.

In an interview also published Friday, ECB chief economist Philip Lane said that while the ECB is not engaged in yield curve control, in the sense that it wants to keep a particular yield constant. "With the purchase programme we are trying to move the curve in a certain direction and with enough force to support inflation dynamics," he said.