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. At the first meeting it assesses the latest monetary and economic developments and it takes the monthly monetary policy decisions, which means setting the key interest rates for the euro area. At its second meeting, the Governing Council mainly takes decisions related to the other tasks of the ECB.
The decisions on the key interest rates for the euro area are announced in a press release issued at 1.45 p.m. C.E.T. on the day of the Governing Council's first meeting of the month. Shortly afterwards, the decisions are explained in the Introductory statement, which marks the start of the monthly press conference at 2.30 p.m. C.E.T.
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 have been published at 3 p.m. C.E.T. on the day after the second Governing Council meeting.