European Central Bank | EUNewsletter

EU institutions and bodies

While forming the European Union, its member-states partially gave away their national powers in order to establish a political community with a unified structure. There are currently seven official European institutions, which play different roles for the functioning and activities of the EU.

European Central Bank

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The European Central Bank (ECB) was set up in 1998, under the Treaty on European Union. It is a supra-national institution with its own legal personality. Its job is to manage the euro - the EU's single currency, and to safeguard price stability for the more than two-thirds of the EU's citizens who use the euro. The ECB is also responsible for framing and implementing the EU’s economic and monetary policy. To carry out its role, the ECB works with the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), which covers all 27 EU countries. However, only 16 of these countries have so far adopted the euro. The 16 collectively make up the "euro area" and their central banks, together with the European Central Bank, make up what is called the "Eurosystem".The ECB works in complete independence. Neither the ECB, the national central banks of the Eurosystem, nor any member of their decision-making bodies can ask for or accept instructions from any other body. The EU institutions and member state governments must respect this principle and must not seek to influence the ECB or the national central banks.The ECB, working closely with the national central banks, prepares and implements the decisions taken by the Eurosystem's decision-making bodies - the Governing Council, the Executive Board and the General Council. The ECB is based in three buildings in the heart of Frankfurt but will move to its new headquarters, currently under construction in the eastern part of the city, in 2014. Jean-Claude Trichet, from France, became President of the ECB in November 2003. Official website: http://www.ecb.int