The European Central Bank
The European Central Bank

The following Financial Services guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The European Central Bank
  • Background to the ECB
  • Organisation of the ECB
  • Objectives of the ECB
  • Purpose of the ECB
  • ECB as part of the Single Supervisory Mechanism
  • The UK and the ECB

The European Central Bank (ECB) represents the core institution for the Eurosystem and the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). The ECB became the successor of the European Monetary Institute on 1 June 1998, and assumed its full responsibility for the monetary policy decision making for the euro zone on 1 January 1999. In 2014, the ECB assumed full responsibility and supervisory tasks for the banks in member states participating in the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

Background to the ECB

The ECB was established by Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as a specialised and independent organisation for conducting monetary policy. The ECB, alongside the national central banks of member states that have adopted the euro constitute the Eurosystem, which acts as the monetary authority for the euro zone. The ESCB is formed of the ECB and national banks of all EU member states. The ECB is a supra-national institution and was granted its own legal personality under public international law. This extensive legal capacity allows it to be a party to legal proceedings and acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property. In addition, the ECB is permitted to conclude international agreements and interact with international organisations, such as the International Monetary Fund. By virtue of being the sole issuer of bank notes and