Decisions taken by the Governing Council of the ECB (in addition to decisions setting interest rates)

February 2009

Economic, monetary and financial situation

Structural Issues Report 2009

On 19 February 2009 the Governing Council approved the Structural Issues Report 2009, which was prepared by the Monetary Policy Committee (one of the Eurosystem/ESCB committees). The report provides an overview of the main developments in housing finance in the euro area over the period 1999-2007 (mortgage indebtedness, characteristics of loans for house purchase and the funding of such loans, and interest rate spreads). It also contains a comparison of key aspects of housing finance in the euro area with those in the United Kingdom and the United States. The report will be sent to the European Parliament and published on the ECB’s website in April 2009.

Operational issues

ECB Guideline on monetary policy instruments and procedures

In January 2009 the Governing Council decided to complement the technical refinements of risk control measures it had announced on 4 September 2008 with additional adjustments with regard to asset-backed securities (ABS) and uncovered bank bonds. These additional adjustments, which will take effect on 1 March 2009, are implemented by means of amendments to Guideline ECB/2000/7 on monetary policy instruments and procedures of the Eurosystem (ECB/2009/1) and are explained in detail in a press release issued on the ECB’s website on 20 January 2009, the date of adoption of Guideline ECB/2009/1 by the Governing Council. The Guideline was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 5 February 2009 and is also available on the ECB’s website.

Euro Money Market Study 2008

On 29 January 2009 the Governing Council authorised the publication of the Euro Money Market Study 2008. It is based on surveys covering the second quarters of 2007 and 2008 and analyses the euro money market in terms of trends in turnover and developments in its integration and efficiency. The study, together with a press release, was published on 2 February 2009 on the ECB’s website.

Increase in the provision of one-week Swiss franc liquidity to Eurosystem counterparties

On 30 January 2009, the Governing Council approved an increase in the provision of Swiss franc liquidity to Eurosystem counterparties via one-week EUR/CHF swap tenders with a ceiling of €25 billion per operation. A communication to this effect was included in the announcement of the ensuing operation on 2 February 2009.

Extension of the USD swap line with the Federal Reserve System

On 2 February 2009 the Governing Council decided, in conjunction with the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve System, to extend the temporary reciprocal currency arrangement (swap line) until 30 October 2009. A related press release was published on the ECB’s website on 3 February 2009.

Annual review of non-regulated markets

On 6 February 2009 the Governing Council took note of the annual assessment of non-regulated markets. This assessment concluded that MTS Slovenia would be added to the list of acceptable non-regulated markets for the Eurosystem’s collateral management purposes. An updated list of non-regulated markets accepted by the ECB is available on the ECB’s website.

Payment systems and market infrastructure

Publication of national Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) indicators

On 6 February 2009 the Governing Council authorised the publication of the results of the national SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) indicators for individual countries on the website of the ECB, in addition to the euro area SCTs which are already available on the ECB’s website.

Eurosystem payment systems oversight policy and harmonised standards

On 19 February 2009 the Governing Council authorised the publication of the Eurosystem oversight policy framework, which provides an overview of the existing set of methods and instruments that the Eurosystem employs in the field of oversight, and of the Eurosystem harmonised oversight approach and oversight standards for payment instruments. A press release providing more detailed information was published today on the ECB’s website.

Financial stability and supervision

Publication of consolidated banking data

On 19 February 2009 the Governing Council decided to publish on the ECB’s website data referring to the period ending December 2007 on the profitability, balance sheets and solvency of EU banks. These data, compiled by the Banking Supervision Committee (one of the Eurosystem/ESCB committees), cover the banking systems of all EU countries and provide information on all groups of banks.

ECB Report on Financial Integration 2009

On 19 February 2009 the Governing Council took note that the third edition of the ECB Report on Financial Integration would be released in March 2009. This edition of the report presents the state of financial integration in the euro area and the Eurosystem’s activities with respect to financial integration, as well as three selected features which include the impact of the financial crisis on euro area financial integration. This year the scope of the report has also been extended to encompass not only financial integration but also financial development. The report will be made available on the ECB’s website.

Advice on legislation

ECB Opinion on the rules governing the distribution of income and allocation of profits of the Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique

On 16 January 2009, at the request of the Belgian Minister for Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to the rules governing the distribution of the income of the Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique and the allocation of its profits to the Belgian State (CON/2009/4). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the payment by the Oesterreichische Nationalbank of Austria’s IMF quota

On 22 January 2009, at the request of the Austrian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on payment by the Oesterreichische Nationalbank of the proposed increase in Austria’s IMF quota (CON/2009/5). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on financial stability measures in Denmark

On 26 January 2009, at the request of the Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on extension of the financial stability scheme guaranteeing full coverage of claims by depositors and ordinary creditors and on a scheme for provision of State capital to credit institutions (CON/2009/6). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the Luxembourg legal framework for statistics

On 27 January 2009, at the request of the Banque centrale du Luxembourg, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the Banque centrale du Luxembourg’s role in the compilation of certain statistics (CON/2009/7). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Swedish coins and rounding rules

On 4 February 2009, at the request of Sveriges Riksbank, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the smallest denomination coin ceasing to be legal tender and amendments to the rounding rules (CON/2009/8). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Hungarian securities legislation

On 4 February 2009, at the request of Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the operating rules of the central securities depository, the clearing house and the central counterparty (CON/2009/9). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on financial stability measures and supervision in Latvia

On 4 February 2009, at the request of the Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the deposit-guarantee scheme and the supervisory authority’s role in insolvency proceedings (CON/2009/10). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on financial stability measures related to bank takeovers in Latvia

On 9 February 2009, at the request of the Latvian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on compensation paid by the State in the context of bank takeovers (CON/2009/11). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on financial stability measures in Cyprus

On 9 February 2009, at the request of the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the terms and conditions for the grant of State loans and guarantees in emergency situations (CON/2009/12). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on eligibility criteria for the Governing Council members of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank)

On 16 February 2009, at the request of the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on additional eligibility criteria for the Governing Council members of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank) and further rules for submitting information in this respect (CON/2009/13). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

International and European cooperation

Eurosystem technical assistance programme for candidate and potential candidate countries

On 5 February 2009 the Governing Council approved the Eurosystem’s participation in a regional programme of technical assistance in the field of banking supervision involving the eight countries with the formal status of EU candidate or potential candidate countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey). This two-year programme, which will be coordinated with other institutions providing technical assistance in the region, will be operational as of the autumn of 2009.

Corporate governance

ECB Recommendation on the external auditors of the Deutsche Bundesbank

On 16 February 2009 the Governing Council adopted a Recommendation to the EU Council on the external auditors of the Deutsche Bundesbank (ECB/2009/3). The Recommendation will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

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