Independence

Political independence

The independence of the ECB is conducive to maintaining price stability. This is supported by extensive theoretical analysis and empirical evidence on central bank independence.

The ECB's independence is laid down in the institutional framework for the single monetary policy (in the Treaty and in the Statute).

Practical implications

Neither the ECB nor the national central banks (NCBs), nor any member of their decision-making bodies, are allowed to seek or take instructions from EU institutions or bodies, from any government of an EU Member State or from any other body.

EU institutions and bodies and the governments of the Member States must respect this principle and not seek to influence the members of the decision-making bodies of the ECB (Article 130 of the Treaty)

Other provisions

The ECB's financial arrangements are kept separate from those of the EU. The ECB has its own budget. Its capital is subscribed and paid up by the euro area NCBs.

The Statute foresees long terms of office for the members of the Governing Council. Members of the Executive Board cannot be reappointed.

Governors of NCBs and members of the Executive Board have security of tenure:

  • NCB governors have a minimum term of office of five years;
  • members of the Executive Board of the ECB have a non-renewable term of office of eight years;
  • both can be removed from office only in the event of incapacity or serious misconduct;
  • the Court of Justice of the European Union is competent to settle any disputes.

The Eurosystem is prohibited from granting loans to EU bodies or national public sector entities. This further shields it from any influence exercised by public authorities.

The Eurosystem is functionally independent. The ECB has at its disposal all instruments and competencies necessary for the conduct of an efficient monetary policy and is authorised to decide autonomously how and when to use them.

The ECB has the right to adopt binding regulations to the extent necessary to carry out the tasks of the ESCB and in certain other cases as laid down in specific acts of the EU Council.