European Central Bank


The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro. Our main task is to maintain price stability in the euro area and so preserve the purchasing power of the single currency. The European Central Bank is responsible for the prudential supervision of credit institutions located in the euro area and participating non-euro area Member States, within the Single Supervisory Mechanism, which also comprises the national competent authorities. It thereby contributes to the safety and soundness of the banking system and the stability of the financial system within the EU and each participating Member State.


The ECB has adopted a specific strategy to ensure the successful conduct of monetary policy. The ECB has defined price stability as a year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the euro area of below 2%. In the pursuit of price stability, the ECB aims at maintaining inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.

The strategy also includes an analytical framework for the assessment of all relevant information and analysis needed to take monetary policy decisions. This framework is based on two pillars: economic analysis and monetary analysis.

Monetary policy operates by steering short-term interest rates, thereby influencing economic developments, in order to maintain price stability for the euro area over the medium term.


The primary objective of the ECB’s monetary policy is to maintain price stability. This is the best contribution monetary policy can make to economic growth and job creation.

Frequency of Meeting

Once or twice a month

Outline Monetary Policy

The European Central Bank is tasked to maintain price stability is the primary objective of the Eurosystem and of the single monetary policy for which it is responsible. This is laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 127 (1).

The Treaty establishes a clear hierarchy of objectives for the Eurosystem. It assigns overriding importance to price stability. The Treaty makes clear that ensuring price stability is the most important contribution that monetary policy can make to achieve a favourable economic environment and a high level of employment.

These Treaty provisions reflect the broad consensus that:

  • the benefits of price stability are substantial. Maintaining stable prices on a sustained basis is a crucial pre-condition for increasing economic welfare and the growth potential of an economy.
  • the natural role of monetary policy in the economy is to maintain price stability. Monetary policy can affect real activity only in the shorter term. But ultimately it can only influence the price level in the economy.

Learn more about the ECB & how they determine Monetary Policy

Monetary Policy Introduction

Monetary Policy Strategy

Monetary Policy Decisions

Christine Legarde
Vítor Constâncio VP
Benoît Cœuré
Sabine Lautenschläger
Yves Mersch
Peter Praet
Executive Board
The Governors of the national central banks of the 19 euro area countries

Research other Central Banks

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