The central bank has no easy answers for the deepening euro zone ailment. Simply doing more of the same would prove not just ineffective, but risk its credibility and standing. The time has come for the ECB to shift gears away from active inertia mode and, instead, combine a laser-like focus on its regulatory and supervisory mission with setting a broader policy context. This would be more effective in the short run and, over the longer term, pave a better structural path to other initiatives that Lagarde shows interest in pursuing, including the fight against climate change.

Mohamed A. El-Erian is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, the parent company of Pimco, where he served as CEO and co-CIO. He is president-elect of Queens' College, Cambridge, senior adviser at Gramercy and professor of practice at Wharton. His books include "The Only Game in Town" and "When Markets Collide."

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