When speaking of a “central bank”, the first idea which probably comes to mind is that it is the institution that issues money. And money is the instrument we use as a unit of account, a means of payment and a store of value. Granted, the key objective of any central bank is to ensure that the value of money is preserved over time. But there are many other lesser known aspects of modern central banking. One of them is communication. A central bank should not only do what it says it does but also explain what it is doing, thereby increasing the public’s awareness and knowledge of the policies and ser vices it provides.
This brochure forms par t of our communication on the activities of the European Central Bank (ECB) at the hear t of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), along with the national central banks of the 27 European Union Member States. Since not all Member States have adopted the euro as their currency, the term Eurosystem is used to describe the entity composed of the ECB and the national central banks of those Member States that have adopted the euro, currently 17. Most of the tasks conferred upon the ESCB by the Treaty on European Union are handled by the Eurosystem. This brochure can also be downloaded from the ECB’s website (www.ecb.europa.eu). The electronic version will be updated more frequently than the printed version.
I hope that you enjoy reading the brochure, whether in printed form or online.
Frankfur t am Main, Januar y 2011
President of the European Central Bank
[Mrt: 3 function, one function has a condition.]