The institutional framework of the European System of Central Banks
The Treaty establishing the European Community (the “Treaty”) and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and of the European Central Bank (ECB) confer specific objectives and tasks upon the ESCB, which is composed of the ECB and the national central banks of the 15 Member States of the European Union (EU). In order to enhance transparency and to facilitate understanding of the complex structure of central banking in the euro area, the term “Eurosystem” has been adopted to refer more specifically to the body which carries out the basic tasks related to the single monetary policy of the euro area. The ESCB thus deals with the tasks and objectives as they relate to the EU as a whole.
In contrast to the ECB and the national central banks, the ESCB (and hence the Eurosystem) has no legal personality and no decision-making bodies of its own. The ESCB is governed by the decision making bodies of the ECB, namely the Governing Council, the General Council and the Executive Board. While decisions relating to the objectives and tasks of the ESCB have to be taken centrally, operations are decentralised to the extent deemed appropriate and possible. When taking monetary policy decisions, the members of the Governing Council of the ECB do not act as national representatives, but in a fully independent personal capacity. This is reflected in the principle of “one person, one vote”.
The Treaty grants full constitutional independence to the ESCB. In particular, neither the ECB nor any member of its decision-making bodies is permitted to seek or take instructions from Community institutions or bodies, from any government of a Member State or from any other body."
"Individual responsibilities of the members of the Executive Board with respect to the
working units of the European Central Bank (ECB)
Article 11.5 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank stipulates that “each member of the Executive Board present in person shall have the right to vote and shall have, for that purpose, one vote”. Thereby, Article 11.5 establishes the principle of collegiate responsibility as the relevant factor governing decision-making by the Executive Board. It is based on the equal participation of the Executive Board in the adoption of Decisions, from which it follows, in particular, that Decisions should be subject to collective deliberations and that all members of the decision-making body should bear collective responsibility for all Decisions adopted.
While respecting the principle of collegiate responsibility, it is stipulated in the Rules of Procedure of the European Central Bank that, with regard to the ECB’s internal organisation, the Executive Board shall decide on the individual responsibilities of its members with respect to the working units of the ECB. The following allocation of responsibilities has been agreed by the members of the Executive Board:
• The President, Willem F. Duisenberg, is responsible for External Relations, Secretariat, Protocol and
Conferences and Internal Audit.
• The Vice-President, Christian Noyer, is responsible for Administration and Personnel, Legal Services and
the Middle Office. He is also one of the ECB’s two members of the Economic and Financial Committee, a
consultative Community body set up at the start of Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union.
• Eugenio Domingo Solans is responsible for Information Systems, Statistics and Banknotes.
• Sirkka Hämäläinen is responsible for Operations and Controlling and Organisation.
• Otmar Issing is responsible for Economics and Research. He is also one of the ECB’s two members of the
Economic and Financial Committee.
• Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa is responsible for International and European Relations, Payment Systems and
"The Committees of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB)
The Committees of the ESCB are composed of representatives of the European Central Bank (ECB) and of the national central banks of participating Member States, i.e. those Member States which have adopted the euro.
The national central banks of each non-participating Member State may also appoint a representative to take part in the meetings of an ESCB Committee whenever it deals with matters which fall within the field of competence of the General Council. The ESCB Committees have been formed to assist in the work of the ESCB/Eurosystem. The reports prepared by the ESCB Committees, in line with their clearly defined mandates, reflect the range of opinions expressed by their members.
The ESCB Committees, most of which are chaired by a representative of the ECB, do not have any decisionmaking powers as such, but contribute to the preparation of the decisions to be taken by the decision-making bodies of the ECB within their fields of competence.
Both the Governing Council and the Executive Board have the right to request ESCB Committees to undertake studies of specific topics.
The following ESCB Committees have been established:
• Accounting and Monetary Income Committee (AMICO);
• Banking Supervision Committee (BSC);
• Banknote Committee (BANCO);
• External Communications Committee (ECCO);
• Information Technology Committee (ITC);
• Internal Auditors Committee (IAC);
• International Relations Committee (IRC);
• Legal Committee (LEGCO);
• Market Operations Committee (MOC);
• Monetary Policy Committee (MPC);
• Payment and Settlement Systems Committee (PSSC);
• Statistics Committee (STC).
In addition, a Budget Committee (BUCOM) has been established to assist in matters related to the budget of
[Mrt: to be read in full :o)]