The European Central Bank (ECB)

The euro area consists of the EU countries that have adopted the euro. It exists from January 1999 when responsibility for monetary policy was transfered from the national central banks of 11 EU Member States to the European Central Bank (ECB). In 2001 Greece joined the Euro Area, then Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2009, Slovakia in 2009 and Estonia in 2011. Since the creation of Euro Area, the ECB, a new supranational institution, was a milestone in the long and complex process of European integration.

ECB has been responsible for conducting monetary policy for the euro area since 1. January 1999. Euro Area is the world's largest economy right after the United Stated.

The "Treaty establishing the European Community" and the "Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank" is the legal basis for the single monetary policy. The ECB was established in 1 June 1998 as the core of the Eurosystem and the ESCB (European System of Central Banks). The ECB has legal personality under public international law.

The European System of Central Banks comprises the ECB and the national central banks (NCBs) of all EU Member States whether they have adopted the euro or not.

ECB Basic tasks are:

  • the definition and implementation of monetary policy for the euro area;
  • the conduct of foreign exchange operations;
  • the holding and management of the official foreign reserves of the euro area countries (portfolio management).
  • the promotion of the smooth operation of payment systems.

Further tasks of ECB:

  • Banknotes: the ECB has the exclusive right to authorize the issuance of banknotes within the euro area.
  • Statistics: in cooperation with the NCBs, the ECB collects statistical information necessary for fulfilling the tasks, either from national authorities or directly from economic agents.
  • Financial stability & supervision: the Eurosystem contributes to the smooth conduct of policies pursued by the authorities in charge related to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and the stability of the financial system.
  • International and European cooperation: the ECB maintains working relations with relevant institutions, bodies and for both within the EU and internationally in respect of tasks entrusted to the Eurosystem.

The European Central Bank live stream
The European Central Bank official web site: