The Governing Council meets twice a month ( Calendar). At its first meeting, as a rule, the Governing Council assesses the economic situation and the stance of the monetary policy. Decisions on the key interest rates are normally taken during that meeting.
At its second meeting, the Governing Council focuses mainly on issues related to other tasks and responsibilities of the ECB and the Eurosystem.
The Governing Council of the ECB sets the key interest rates.
The key interest rates for the euro area set by the Governing Council are:
Since the intensification of the financial crisis in September 2008, the ECB has introduced a number of non-standard monetary policy measures that are unprecedented in nature, scope and magnitude with the aim to safeguard the primary objective of price stability and ensure an appropriate monetary policy transmission mechanism (for Enhanced Credit Support see Monthly Bulletin, June 2009, p.9-10and for the Securities Markets Programme see Monthly Bulletin, May 2010, Editorial - Box 1: Additional measures decided by the Governing Council and September 2011 Monthly Bulletin, Box 5, for December 2011 measures see Monthly Bulletin, January 2012 Box 4, Monthly Bulletin, February 2012, Box 2, and Monthly Bulletin, March 2012, Box 3, for Outright Monetary Transactions see the press release of 6 September 2012, Monthly Bulletin, October 2012 and the Introductory Statement by the ECB in the proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court, Box 1, for the modalities of the early repayment of funds raised through the three-year longer-term refinancing operations see Monthly Bulletin, February 2013, Box 3 and Monthly Bulletin, July 2013, Box 4).
Following its meeting on 4 July 2013 the Governing Council of the ECB communicated that it expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time. The Governing Council’s expectation is based on the overall subdued outlook for inflation extending into the medium term, given the broad-based weakness in the real economy and subdued monetary dynamics. At the current juncture, forward guidance contributes to the ECB’s pursuit of its mandate of maintaining price stability effectively, within the framework and in full respect of its strategy (see Monthly Bulletin, July 2013, Box 1).
After the first meeting of the month, a press release announcing the decision on the key ECB interest rates is issued at 1.45 p.m. C.E.T.
Shortly afterwards, at 2.30 p.m. C.E.T. , the President and the Vice-President of the ECB hold a press conference.
The conference starts with an introductory statement by the President. It provides a comprehensive summary of the assessment of economic and monetary developments and explains the monetary policy decision taken by the Governing Council.
After the introductory statement, the President and the Vice-President answer journalists' questions. This provides a platform for the timely explanation of monetary policy decisions to the public. A transcript of the questions and answers is placed on this website a few hours later.