"The underlying pace of monetary expansion continues to be subdued," said ECB President Mario Draghi at a press conference in Frankfurt, Germany.
Draghi said sovereign debt remains high on the continent and inflation was holding "close to 2 percent."
"Economic weakness in the euro area is expected to prevail in the early part of 2013. In particular, necessary balance sheet adjustments in the public and private sectors will continue to weigh on economic activity," he said.
Draghi acknowledged the need for fiscal discipline. "It is essential for governments to reduce further both fiscal and structural imbalances and to proceed with financial sector restructuring," he said.