European system of central banks

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The European System of Central Banks ( ESCB ) consists of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks (NCB) of all countries in the European Union . The introduction of the ESCB as part of the third stage of European Economic and Monetary Union was decided in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and implemented on January 1, 1999.

The functioning and objectives of the ESCB are regulated in Art. 127  ff. TFEU and in the ESCB Statute, which is annexed to the TFEU as Protocol No. 4. The primary monetary policy objective of the ESCB is to ensure price level stability . If this is achieved, it should support general economic policy in the European Union as a secondary objective .

The ESCB is not to be confused with the Eurosystem . While the ESCB includes all EU countries, the Eurosystem only includes the national central banks of the countries in the euro area , i.e. the countries that have introduced the euro as their currency, in addition to the ECB .


  • Define and execute the monetary policy of the Community
  • Conduct foreign exchange transactions within the framework of exchange rate policy
  • Hold and manage the official foreign reserves of the member states
  • Contribute to the supervision of credit institutions and financial market stability
  • Promote the smooth functioning of payment transactions


  • European Central Bank (ECB)
  1. ECB Executive Board: Consists of the President of the ECB, the Vice-President of the ECB and four other people. The Board of Directors therefore consists of six members. Its task is to participate in the legal decisions and then to implement them.
  2. Governing Council: Consists of the ECB Executive Board and the presidents of the national central banks of the participating countries, i. H. of the euro countries. It determines the monetary policy of the Union and issues the guidelines necessary for its implementation. A conference usually takes place every 14 days.
  3. Enlarged Council: It is made up of the President and Vice-President of the ECB, as well as all presidents of the national central banks of the participating and non-participating countries and has primarily advisory functions. He also strives to collect statistical data and participate in reporting.
  • National Central Banks (NCBs)
  1. Central banks of the countries participating in the euro: they have the task of participating in council decisions and carrying out instructions from the board of directors.
  2. Central banks of the countries not participating in the euro: perform advisory and reporting tasks in the ESCB through the General Council.

National central banks

The term national central bank ( NCB ) refers to the national central bank of an EU member state.

The German national central bank is the Deutsche Bundesbank , the Austrian NCB is the Oesterreichische Nationalbank .

Responsibilities of the national central banks

List of national central banks

National central banks in the Eurosystem :

National central banks of the EU members in Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II):

National central banks of the EU members without the euro and without ERM II:

See also

Web links