Central bank independence has established itself over the past decades as an indispensable element of the monetary policy regimes of mature and emerging economies. The decision to grant central banks independence is firmly grounded in economic theory and empirical evidence, both of which show that such a set-up is conducive to maintaining price stability (see Monthly Bulletin Article November 2002 "The accountability of the ECB" ).
The ECB is independent in carrying out its mandate and tasks. At the same time, it is a founding principle of democratic societies that any independent institution bestowed with a public function should be accountable to citizens and their elected representatives for the conduct of its policies. Accountability is therefore an important counterpart of central bank independence.
The ECB's commitment to accountability is illustrated by its decision to go beyond the statutory obligations in its regular reporting. For instance, the ECB publishes an Economic Bulletin every six weeks instead of the required quarterly report and the members of the Governing Council deliver numerous speeches to address relevant topics of concern to the public. Moreover, the ECB President and Vice-President provide an in-depth explanation of the ECB's assessment of the economic situation and the rationale for its monetary policy decisions at the regular press conferences which immediately follow the Governing Council’s monetary policy meetings.
The ECB’s new supervisory tasks and responsibilities are also subject to accountability requirements. Read more about how these are to be fulfilled in practice on the Banking supervision website