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Legal framework

As an EU institution, the European Central Bank (ECB) operates under clearly defined rules which can be found in primary and secondary European Union law. The ECB’s objectives and tasks are set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank.

In carrying out its tasks within its fields of competence, the ECB can adopt legal acts and also provides and publishes opinions on proposed legislation as part of its advisory function.

EUR-Lex

ECB Legal Framework on EUR-Lex

All ECB legal acts are available in all relevant official EU languages and are accessible on EUR-Lex, the online gateway to EU Law providing the official access to EU legal documents.

ECB section on EUR-Lex

About EUR-Lex

What can be found in the ECB section on EUR-Lex?

All ECB legal acts can be found on EUR-Lex. This includes all legal acts published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) as well as those previously only published on the ECB website, including:

  • Regulations
  • Decisions
  • Guidelines
  • Recommendations
  • EU and national opinions and letters related to the ECB’s advisory function
  • Memoranda of Understanding
  • Agreements

The legal acts available also include amendments, corrigenda and consolidated versions. In addition to the legal acts, you will also find all case law of relevance to the ECB.

Finding your way around EUR-Lex

From the ECB section on EUR-Lex, you can browse ECB legal acts by the following topics:

  • Legal framework of the ESCB
  • ECB institutional provisions
  • Monetary policy and operations
  • Payment and settlement systems
  • Banknotes and coins, means of payment and currency matters
  • Foreign exchange and foreign reserves
  • Statistics  
  • Financial market stability
  • Banking supervision

You can also use the various search functionalities available to search for legal acts or court cases by key word, document number, year or other criteria.

An overview window displays the most recently published legal acts. You can also find a complete list of legal acts sorted by date.

Legal acts by date

For statistics on the number of ECB legal acts and easy access to compilations by types of acts, topics or over time, you can navigate through interactive infographics.

Entries in EUR-Lex

Entries in EUR-Lex provide links to the different language versions available in HTML and PDF and the publication of the act in the Official Journal of the European Union, as well as to all consolidated versions available. You can choose to display a text in up to three languages at any one time.