The Governing Council is the main decision-making body of the ECB. It consists of the six members of the Executive Board and the governors, respectively presidents of all national central banks (NCBs) of the euro area.
The Governing Council usually meets twice a month. Every six weeks it assesses economic and monetary developments and takes its monthly monetary policy decisions, which means setting the key interest rates for the euro area. At the other meetings, the Council discusses mainly issues related to other tasks and responsibilities of the ECB and the Eurosystem. To ensure the separation of the ECB’s monetary policy and other tasks from its supervisory responsibilities, separate meetings of the Governing Council are held.
The decisions on the key interest rates for the euro area are announced in a press release issued at 13:45 CET on the day of the monetary policy meeting of the Governing Council.
Shortly afterwards, the decisions are explained in the Introductory statement, which marks the start of the monetary policy press conference at 14:30 CET.
These decisions relate to the other tasks of the ECB, such as promoting the smooth operation of payment systems, financial stability, statistics, banknotes' issuance and legal affairs.
Since December 2004 these decisions are published at 15:00 CET on the day after the second Governing Council meeting.