European System of Central Banks, ESCB

ESCB comprises the European Central Bank (ECB), which is located in Frankfurt, and the national central banks of all EU Member States. Among other things, participation in the ECBS enables the Riksbank to exert influence on issues that are important to Sweden and to share and exchange knowledge and experience.

The ECB and the national central banks of the countries that have adopted the euro are jointly referred to as the Eurosystem.

Mandate and mission

The main objective of the central banks in the ESCB is to maintain price stability. Without prejudice to this primary objective, the ESCB shall support the general economic policies in the Community with a view to contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Community (read more on the page Other EU cooperation).

Central banks that are members of the ESCB but not of the Eurosystem - which include the Riksbank - retain responsibility for conducting an independent national monetary policy and other national tasks. One of the aims of participation in the ESCB is to facilitate entry into the Eurosystem if and when such a decision is taken. It also enables the Riksbank to exert influence on issues that are important to Sweden and to share and exchange knowledge and experience.

Governance structure

The Governing Council

The Governing Council is the highest decision-making body in the Eurosystem and the ESCB. Its members are the governors of the national central banks of the euro area and the members of the ECB’s Executive Board. The Governing Council normally meets twice a month and monetary policy decisions are made at every second meeting. As Sweden has not adopted the euro, the Governor of the Riksbank is not a member of this Council. When the Governing Council takes a decision that concerns the entire ESCB, the members of the General Council (see below) can submit their views in advance.

The Executive Board

The ECB Executive Board has six members who are appointed by the Heads of State or Government in the euro area. The Executive Board’s main tasks are taking responsibility for managing the ECB’s day-to-day business and ensuring that the decisions of the Governing Council are implemented.

The General Council

The General Council of the ECB consists of the governors of all national central banks of the EU Member States and the President and Vice President of the ECB. The Governor of the Riksbank is thus a member of the General Council. The Council usually meets four times a year. Its most important tasks are to prepare for the entry of new countries into the Eurosystem and to monitor and analyse the economies of the EU countries that have not adopted the euro. Among its other tasks, the Council adopts the convergence reports in which the ECB assesses the compliance of these countries with the economic convergence criteria and the extent to which their national legislation is compatible with the Treaty and the ESCB Statute. Convergence reports are prepared every second year or when a country applies for membership of the Eurosystem.

ESCB Committees

The Governing Council has formed committees with a large number of working groups for different parts of the operations within the ESCB. The national central banks have representatives in these groups, which mostly meet to provide the Governing Council with advice on issues affecting the Eurosystem. When such issues fall under the area of responsibility of the General Council, all central banks in the EU participate, including the Riksbank. Overall, the Riksbank participates in around 50 committees or groups in the ESCB.

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Updated 13/08/2021