"Those who claim only a full federation can be sustainable set the bar too high," Draghi wrote in an opinion piece published on Wednesday (29 August).
"What we need is a gradual and structured effort to complete the EMU [Economic and Monetary Union]," he added in the article, originally published in German newspaper Die Ziet and published in full on EurActiv.com.
Such ventures into political territory are extremely rare from the ECB, signalling that the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis is reaching a decisive turn.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said over the weekend she hoped a December summit of EU leaders could agree concrete steps to draw up a new treaty that would bring about closer economic and monetary union in the eurozone.
She has called for "political union" – and centralised oversight of national budgets at the European level – to save the single currency from collapsing under the weight of accumulated debt.
Although Germany's economic might gives Merkel a strong hand to push through an EU treaty change, she may be faced with a daunting task. Many member states, including France, are reluctant to embark on another prolonged process of institutional reform, recalling the lengthy disputes and setbacks which marked the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.
More fundamentally, Paris appears reluctant to take the federalist leap that Germany is asking for, pushing instead for greater "solidarity" and pooling eurozone debt by issuing jointly backed eurobonds, an idea firmly rejected in Berlin which wants improved fiscal controls as a prerequisite.
In his opinion piece, Draghi writes that a full political union is not a prerequisite, saying that "economic integration and political integration can develop in parallel".
"We do not need a centralisation of all economic policies," Draghi further develops to assuage sceptics of greater integration. However, "for fiscal policies, we need true oversight over national budgets," he adds, because "we cannot afford a situation where some regions run permanently large deficits vis-à-vis others."
"The euro area is not a nation-state," Draghi concludes, but "the sharing of powers and of accountability can move in parallel."
European heads of states were given a report on closer economic and monetary union, which Draghi co-authored, at the last EU summit in June. The report outlined the process towards deeper EU integration and identified the main building blocks – a banking union, a fiscal union and further steps towards a political union.
More detailed proposals are expected at the next EU summit on 18-19 October.