Guiding principles for external communication by members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank

Preamble

The members of the Executive Board of the ECB attach great importance to clear, effective and timely communication of the ECB’s strategy and policy decisions as well as issues related to their implementation. The communication policy of the ECB is an essential part of its accountability and good governance obligations as an independent monetary and supervisory authority. Regular contacts and interaction with members of the public, representative associations and civil society provide relevant input and information that help Executive Board members to understand the dynamics of the economy and financial markets and its broader societal context.

This two-way communication is based on open, transparent and regular dialogues and debates between the Executive Board members and the public as well as specialised audiences.

The members of the Executive Board are subject to and act in accordance with the existing rules, as defined in particular in the Statute of the ESCB and the ECB, the Code of Conduct for the members of the Governing Council (2002/C 123/06) and the Supplementary Code of Ethics Criteria for the members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (2010/C 104/03).

Guiding principles

Guided by the values of integrity and transparency, the members of the Executive Board hereby establish the following principles for dealing with external communication with private sector, academic and civil society representatives:1

First, the members of the Executive Board will safeguard confidential information in accordance with their obligations and apply utmost prudence in selecting speaking engagements at external events to avoid any appearance that potentially financial market sensitive information may not be available to the widest possible public audience at the same time. To that end, Executive Board members shall:

  • accept speaking engagements at events where their remarks could be seen as financially market-sensitive only if these remarks are published on the ECB’s website at the start of the speech, or if the event can be monitored and followed directly by the general public (e.g. via a live webcast), or if the event is attended by media representatives who could report in real time. Speaking engagements on general or academic topics, where no financial market-sensitive information is disclosed, remain unaffected by this stipulation;
  • refrain from offering to any institution, company or person who could derive profit from such information personal views about the state of the economy or the financial sector relevant to the future stance of monetary policy that have not already been expressed publicly; and
  • strive to ensure, in selecting their speaking engagements, that the acceptance of such invitations is not perceived as giving the organiser a prestige advantage over a competitor or allowing them to benefit financially from apparently exclusive contacts with the members of the Executive Board.

Second, when considering invitations to speak at non-public events or to accept bilateral meetings, e.g. with bankers, industry representatives, or with special interest and advocacy groups, the members of the Executive Board will ensure that no financial market-sensitive information is divulged. As a matter of principle and where practical, an ECB staff member should be present at bilateral meetings.

Third, the members of the Executive Board re-affirm their adherence to the quiet period principle, whereby speeches and public remarks, given in the seven days prior to each scheduled monetary policy meeting of the Governing Council, should not be such as to influence expectations about forthcoming monetary policy decisions.

Similarly, the members of the Executive Board will not meet nor talk to the media, market participants or other outside interests on monetary policy matters during that period and should immediately notify both the communications and compliance functions of the ECB if they inadvertently do so.

1 These guiding principles do not apply to dialogues with public authorities or supervisory dialogues, i.e. dialogues with supervised entities on supervisory matters with respect to the institution supervised.