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

March 2009

Monetary policy

Central bank compliance with prohibitions on monetary financing and privileged access

On 19 March 2009, in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community, which assigns to the ECB the task of monitoring the compliance of central banks with the prohibitions referred to in Articles 101 and 102 thereof and the related Regulations, the Governing Council approved the report covering the year 2008. Further information on this matter will be provided in a dedicated section of the ECB’s Annual Report 2008 which will be made public on 21 April 2009.

Operational issues

Tender procedures of the Eurosystem

On 5 March 2009 the Governing Council decided to continue the fixed rate tender procedure with full allotment for all main refinancing operations, special-term refinancing operations and supplementary and regular longer-term refinancing operations for as long as needed, and in any case beyond the end of 2009. In addition, the Governing Council decided to continue with the current frequency and maturity profile of supplementary longer-term refinancing operations and special-term refinancing operations for as long as needed, and in any case beyond the end of 2009. A press release announcing these decisions was published on the ECB’s website on the same day.

Eurosystem monetary policy operations in 2008

On 5 March 2009 the Governing Council announced that it had taken measures regarding the provisioning stemming from the default of Eurosystem counterparties in the context of monetary policy operations conducted by the national central banks in 2008 and beyond. A related press release was published on the ECB’s website on that day.

US dollar liquidity-providing operations beyond the first quarter of 2009

On 11 March 2009 the Governing Council decided, in agreement with other central banks including the Federal Reserve System, to continue conducting US dollar liquidity-providing operations at terms of 7, 28 and 84 days until the end of June 2009. A related press release was published on 19 March 2009 on the ECB’s website.

Payment systems and market infrastructure

Outcome of the public consultation on the Eurosystem Single Interface

On 12 March 2009 the Governing Council authorised the publication on the ECB’s website of the outcome of the public consultation launched in September 2008 on the Eurosystem Single Interface (ESI). The conclusions point to market demand for a “lean” ESI – i.e. no additional layer should be created on top of the existing infrastructures related to the Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system (TARGET2), Collateral Central Bank Management (CCBM2) and TARGET2-Securities (T2S).

Terms of Reference for the SEPA compliance of card schemes

On 16 March 2009 the Governing Council approved Terms of Reference for the SEPA compliance of card schemes and authorised their publication on the ECB’s website. They will be published shortly on the ECB’s website.

Publication of the “Eurosystem’s SEPA expectations”

On 19 March 2009 the Governing Council authorised the publication on the ECB’s website of the “Eurosystem’s SEPA expectations”. This document details the Eurosystem’s expectations vis-à-vis the various stakeholders regarding the future progress of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) project and provides guidance to banking communities and payment institutions. The document, together with a related press release, will be published shortly on the ECB’s website.

Memorandum of Understanding with CSDs

On 19 March 2009 the Governing Council offered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for central securities depositories (CSDs) to sign by 30 June 2009. By signing this MoU, CSDs accept certain tasks and responsibilities, which are to some extent a formalisation of the support that is already provided to the Eurosystem by CSDs. Undertaking these responsibilities confers certain rights on signatories of the MoU (e.g. their representation in T2S governance structures along with the other CSDs committed to this project). The Eurosystem in turn confirms its commitment to delivering T2S and undertakes to provide a list of deliverables that should enable CSDs to sign a mutually satisfactory contractual arrangement covering the development and operational phases of T2S by the start of 2010 at the latest.

Rules of Procedure of the T2S Advisory Group

On 19 March 2009 the Governing Council approved the Rules of Procedure of the T2S Advisory Group. This is the advisory body established for the duration of the specification phase, which is expected to last until end-2009. The Rules of Procedure are available on the ECB’s website.

Financial stability and supervision

Eurosystem contribution to the European Commission consultation on hedge funds

On 25 February 2009 the Governing Council approved a Eurosystem contribution to the consultation on hedge funds launched by the European Commission as part of a wider review of the regulatory and supervisory framework for EU financial markets. This contribution, which focuses on the issues relating to systemic risks and market efficiency and integrity, was published on the ECB’s website on the same day.

Guiding principles for bank asset support schemes

On 6 March 2009 the Governing Council published a set of guiding principles for bank asset support measures which it had adopted in the context of the deliberations of the ECOFIN Council and the Economic and Financial Committee, and as a contribution to the European Commission’s “Communication on the treatment of impaired assets in the Community banking sector”, which was published on 25 February 2009. The guiding principles, as well as the European Commission’s communication, can be accessed via the ECB’s website.

Advice on legislation

ECB Opinion on standards for seasonal products in the HICP

On 23 February 2009, at the request of the Commission of the European Communities, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on standards for the treatment of seasonal products in the Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP) (CON/2009/14). The Opinion was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 12 March 2009 and is also available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the remuneration of Irish public servants

On 24 February 2009 the Governing Council adopted an own-initiative Opinion on financial support measures related to the remuneration of public servants (CON/2009/15). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the recapitalisation of banks in Ireland

On 25 February 2009, at the request of the Irish Minister for Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on legislation to allow the Minister for Finance to direct the National Pensions Reserve Fund to invest in financial institutions as part of the recapitalisation of banks (CON/2009/16). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on amendments to the Banking Directive and the Capital Adequacy Directive

On 5 March 2009, at the request of the EU Council, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to the Banking Directive and the Capital Adequacy Directive as regards banks affiliated to central institutions, certain own funds items, large exposures, supervisory arrangements, and crisis management (CON/2009/17). The English version of the Opinion is available on the ECB’s website. All language versions will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on stabilisation measures in Estonia

On 9 March 2009, at the request of Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament), the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on stabilisation measures for the financial system (CON/2009/18). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on recapitalisation and State takeover of financial institutions in Poland

On 9 March 2009, at the request of the Polish Minister for Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on recapitalisation and State takeover of certain financial institutions (CON/2009/19). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Cypriot deposit-guarantee schemes

On 10 March 2009, at the request of the Central Bank of Cyprus and of the Cypriot Authority for the Supervision and Development of Cooperative Societies, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the extension of the scope of the deposit-guarantee schemes (CON/2009/20). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the stock exchange and the central depository and central securities registry in Cyprus

On 16 March 2009, at the request of the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the stock exchange and the central depository and central securities registry (CON/2009/21). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the legal framework for the Polish State bank

On 16 March 2009, at the request of the Polish Minister for Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to the legal framework for the State bank, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, enhancing its role in government programmes (CON/2009/22). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on management of the Italian Treasury availability account

On 17 March 2009, at the request of the Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the management of the Treasury availability account held with the Banca d’Italia (CON/2009/23). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the further stabilisation of the financial market

On 17 March 2009, at the request of the German Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on measures for the further stabilisation of the financial market (CON/2009/24). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on an amendment to the State guarantee aimed at avoiding liquidity outflows

On 19 March 2009, at the request of the Belgian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on an amendment to the State guarantee aimed at avoiding liquidity outflows (CON/2009/25). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

Statistics

ECB Decision on Community statistics on the assets and liabilities of investment funds

On 6 March 2009 the Governing Council adopted a Decision concerning derogations that may be granted under Regulation ECB/2007/8 concerning statistics on the assets and liabilities of investment funds (ECB/2009/4). The Decision was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 18 March 2009 and is also available on the ECB’s website.

2008 statistical quality reports

On 18 March 2009 the Governing Council approved the annual assessment of the availability and quality of the various kinds of statistics that are compiled by the Eurosystem on the basis of an ECB legal act. It also authorised the publication of the 2008 quality report on euro area balance of payments and international investment position statistics as well as the report on monetary and financial statistics. Both reports were produced in accordance with the “ECB Statistics Quality Framework”, which was published in April 2008 on the ECB’s website.

Corporate governance

ECB Annual Accounts 2008

On 5 March 2009 the Governing Council approved the audited annual accounts for the financial year 2008. A related press release was published on the ECB’s website on that day. The annual accounts, together with a management report for the year 2008, will be published in the ECB’s Annual Report 2008, which will be made public on 21 April 2009.

ECB Decision amending the Rules of Procedure of the European Central Bank

On 19 March 2009 the Governing Council adopted, further to its Decision of 18 December 2008 to postpone the start of the rotation system until the number of governors in the Governing Council exceeds 18 (ECB/2008/29), a Decision amending the rules of procedure of the ECB regarding technical aspects of the implementation of the rotation system (ECB/2009/5). The Decision will enter into force on the day when the number of governors in the Governing Council of the ECB exceeds 18, and will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

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