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

December 2012

Market operations

Update of the ECB’s General Documentation

On 26 November 2012 the Governing Council approved a new version of “The implementation of monetary policy in the euro area – general documentation on Eurosystem monetary policy instruments and procedures” and adopted Guideline ECB/2012/25 amending Guideline ECB/2011/14 on monetary policy instruments and procedures of the Eurosystem. This version of the General Documentation includes all amendments made since it was last updated in September 2011. Guideline ECB/2012/25 will apply from 3 January 2013. The Guideline, together with a press release highlighting the main changes made, was published on the ECB’s website on 28 November 2012.

Extension of the swap arrangements with other central banks

On 4 December 2012 the Governing Council decided to extend the reciprocal swap lines between the ECB and the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Canada until 1 February 2014. It also decided to continue the 7-day and 84-day liquidity-providing operations in US dollars until further notice. A related press release was published on the ECB’s website on 13 December 2012.

Details of refinancing operations in the period from January to July 2013

On 6 December 2012 the Governing Council decided to continue conducting its main refinancing operations as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment for as long as necessary, and at least until the end of the sixth maintenance period of 2013 on 9 July 2013. This procedure will also remain in use for the Eurosystem’s special-term refinancing operations with a maturity of one maintenance period and the three-month longer-term refinancing operations to be allotted in the first six months of 2013. A related press release was published on the ECB’s website on 6 December 2012.

Euro Money Market Study 2012

On 12 December 2012 the Governing Council approved the publication of the “Euro Money Market Study 2012”, prepared by an ESCB working group reporting to the Market Operations Committee. This year’s study, based on second quarter data for 2011 and 2012, highlights the significant impact of the euro area sovereign debt crisis on the euro money market, as well as the effect of the Eurosystem’s extraordinary policy measures, aimed at restoring market functioning in an environment in which the euro money market remains fragmented. The study, together with a detailed press release, was published on the ECB’s website on 17 December 2012.

Eligibility of debt instruments issued or guaranteed by the Greek government

On 19 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Decision ECB/2012/32 on temporary measures relating to the eligibility of marketable debt instruments issued or fully guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic. Decision ECB/2012/32 suspends the application of the minimum credit rating threshold in the collateral eligibility requirements for the purposes of the Eurosystem’s credit operations in the case of marketable debt instruments issued or guaranteed by the Greek government, which, provided that they fulfil all other eligibility criteria, regain eligibility status for the purposes of Eurosystem credit operations, subject to special haircuts. The Decision, together with a press release, was published on 19 December 2012 on the ECB’s website.

Acceptance of Banka Slovenije’s credit assessment system for the purposes of the Eurosystem credit assessment framework

On 19 December 2012 the Governing Council approved the credit assessment system of Banka Slovenije for use within the Eurosystem credit assessment framework (ECAF). The full list of systems accepted by the Eurosystem for the purposes of the ECAF is available on the ECB’s website.

Eligibility of foreign currency denominated collateral

On 19 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Decision ECB/2012/34 on temporary changes to the rules relating to the eligibility of foreign currency denominated collateral. The Decision, which enters into force on 3 January 2013, provides the legal basis for the suspension of certain provisions of the General Documentation and the continued eligibility as collateral of some assets denominated in pounds sterling, yen or US dollars. The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and is available on the ECB’s website.

Payment systems and market infrastructure

Update of the TARGET2 Guideline

On 5 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Guideline ECB/2012/27 on a Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system (TARGET2) (recast). The Guideline, which has been recast in the interest of clarity and transparency, incorporates material previously internal to the Eurosystem and adds some definitions and provisions with regard to, inter alia, the new pricing scheme for TARGET2, and information sharing concerning suspension or termination of access to monetary policy operations and the consequences of such suspension or termination. The Guideline will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the ECB’s website.

Financial stability and supervision

Financial Stability Review December 2012

On 5 December 2012 the Governing Council authorised the publication of the “Financial Stability Review – December 2012”, which provides a comprehensive assessment of the capacity of the euro area financial system to withstand adverse developments and examines the main sources of risk to and vulnerabilities of financial system stability. The Review, together with a detailed press release, was published on the ECB’s website on 14 December 2012.

Advice on legislation

ECB Opinion on German covered bonds (Pfandbriefe)

On 23 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/92 at the request of the German Federal Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on a tax on financial services and on a tax on the total value of a bank’s balance sheet in Slovenia

On 26 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/93 at the request of the Slovenian Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on amendments to the Hungarian Law on the financial transaction tax 

On 26 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/94 at the request of the Hungarian Ministry for the National Economy.

ECB Opinion on various draft regulatory and implementing technical standards submitted by the European Securities and Markets Authority to the Commission to be adopted by means of Commission delegated and implementing regulations supplementing Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories

On 27 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/95 at the request of the Commission.

ECB Opinion on a proposal for a Council regulation conferring specific tasks on the ECB concerning policies relating to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority)

On 27 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/96 at the request of the Council and the European Parliament.

ECB Opinion on the introduction of the euro in Latvia

On 27 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/97 at the request of the Latvian Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on the extension of the Irish State guarantee of eligible liabilities of credit institutions 

On 29 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/98 at the request of the Irish Minister for Finance.

ECB Opinion on a proposal for a directive establishing a framework for recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms 

On 29 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/99 at the request of the Council of the European Union.

ECB Opinion on a Belgian State guarantee covering certain commitments of subsidiaries of Dexia SA

On 30 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/100 at the request of the Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique, acting on behalf of the Belgian Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on the Slovenian Law on banking 

On 7 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/101 at the request of the Slovenian Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on certain conditions on granting loans in Romania

On 7 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/102 at the request of Banca Naţională a României.

ECB Opinion on a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on key information documents for investment products

On 11 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/103 at the request of the Council of the European Union and of the European Parliament. This Opinion will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Danish financial legislation

On 11 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/104 at the request of the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority.

ECB Opinion on the Lithuanian implementation of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union

On 11 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/105 at the request of the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on banking and financial stability in France

On 12 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/106 at the request of the French Ministry for Economic Affairs and Finance.

ECB Opinion on high frequency trading in Germany

On 13 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/107 at the request of the German Federal Ministry of Finance.

ECB Opinion on asset management companies in Spain

On 14 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/108 at the request of the Spanish Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Business Support.

ECB Opinion on the creation of capital buffers for the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena

On 17 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Opinion CON/2012/109 at the request of the Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance.

Statistics

Investment fund statistics decision

On 7 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Decision ECB/2012/28 amending Decision ECB/2009/4 concerning derogations that may be granted under Regulation (EC) No 958/2007 concerning statistics on the assets and liabilities of investment funds. The amending legal act updates certain references to national legislation while leaving unchanged the investment funds categories. The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the ECB’s website.

International and European cooperation

Technical cooperation programme with the National Bank of Serbia

On 7 December 2012 the Governing Council endorsed a one-year extension of the technical cooperation programme with the National Bank of Serbia which was originally authorised on 17 December 2010. This programme will now run until 31 December 2013.

Corporate governance

Membership of the ECB Audit Committee

On 6 December 2012 the Governing Council appointed Mr Christian Noyer, Governor of the Banque de France, as a member of the ECB Audit Committee with effect from 15 December 2012 for a three-year period.

Chair of the Eurosystem/ESCB Communications Committee

On 6 December 2012 the Governing Council appointed Ms Christine Graeff, Director General of the ECB’s Directorate General Communications and Language Services, as Chair of the Eurosystem/ESCB Communications Committee from 1 January 2013. Ms Graeff’s term as Chair of the Eurosystem/ESCB Communications Committee will expire on 31 August 2013 so as to coincide with the expiry of the terms of office of all the other Eurosystem/ESCB committee chairs, who were (re-)appointed by the Governing Council on 22 July 2010.

Legal acts related to accounting, financial reporting and monetary income issues

On 10 December 2012 the Governing Council adopted Guideline ECB/2012/29 amending Guideline ECB/2010/20 on the legal framework for accounting and financial reporting in the ESCB and Decision ECB/2012/30 amending Decision ECB/2010/21 on the annual accounts of the ECB. In particular, Guideline ECB/2012/29 includes technical amendments relating to the insertion of a recommendation in relation to the ability of NCBs to create general risk provisions, as well as the harmonisation of the disclosure of emergency liquidity assistance operations which will now be reported under asset item 6 ‘Other claims on euro area credit institutions denominated in euro’. Decision ECB/2012/30 includes technical amendments related to the treatment of post balance sheet events in the annual accounts, including a change to the date of approval of the ECB’s annual accounts.

On 19 December 2012 the Governing Council also adopted Decision ECB/2012/33 amending Decision ECB/2010/24 on the interim distribution of the income of the European Central Bank on euro banknotes in circulation and arising from securities purchased under the securities markets programme thereby aligning the dates for the interim distribution of the ECB’s income on euro banknotes in circulation with those for the distribution of the ECB’s income arising from SMP securities. All three legal acts, which enter into force on 31 December 2012, will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the ECB’s website.

2013 Eurosystem Procurement Coordination Office budget and procurement plan

On 17 December 2012 the Governing Council approved the 2013 budget and procurement plan of the Eurosystem Procurement Coordination Office.

Chair of the Eurosystem IT Steering Committee

On 19 December 2012 the Governing Council appointed Mr Yves Mersch, member of the Executive Board of the ECB, as Chair of the Eurosystem IT Steering Committee with immediate effect.

Issuance of banknotes and coins

ECB Decision on the volume of coin issuance in 2013

On 29 November 2012 the Governing Council adopted Decision ECB/2012/26 on the approval of the volume of coin issuance in 2013. The Decision was published on 6 December 2012 in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the ECB’s website.

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