ECB's Constancio: world can be encouraged by Europe's progress

Europe's progress in deepening its integration and putting in place rules and plans to deal with the sovereign debt crisis should offer encouragement to the rest of the world, European Central Bank Vice-President Vitor Constancio said on Wednesday.

Asked about his message for the semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Tokyo later this week given continued frustration and anxiety about Europe's efforts, Constancio said:

"The message is that we have done much progress in the past months. First, in the decisions that have been taken in the summit of leaders in June starting to really deepen integration in Europe, which is a strong message that these countries want to stay together and make the monetary union irreversible, and that's a very important message.

"Then the program that we announced of outright monetary transactions, which was very well received in the markets and eased the conditions in financial markets, so I think Europe made progress in the past few months and that should be encouraging for the world economy," Constancio told Reuters on the sidelines of a seminar ahead of this week's meetings.

Asked about what further assurances Europe could offer to its partners in other parts of the world, Constancio said:

"Now in Europe we have a set of rules that ensure that we have medium-term programs to really deal with the sovereign debt crisis and that's the important thing."

The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 0.75 percent last week at its first policy meeting since President Mario Draghi unveiled his plan to buy the bonds of troubled euro zone countries like Spain.

(Reporting by Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Chris Gallagher)