The General Council comprises the President of the ECB, the Vice-President of the ECB and the governors of the national central banks (NCBs) of the 27 EU Member States.
In other words, the General Council includes representatives of the 19 euro area countries and the 8 non-euro area countries.
The other members of the ECB's Executive Board, the President of the EU Council and one member of the European Commission may attend the meetings of the General Council but do not have the right to vote.
The General Council can be regarded as a transitional body. It carries out the tasks taken over from the European Monetary Institute which the ECB is required to perform in Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union on account of the fact that not all EU Member States have adopted the euro yet.
The General Council also contributes to:
- the ECB's advisory functions;
- the collection of statistical information;
- the preparation of the ECB's annual report;
- the establishment of the necessary rules for standardising the accounting and reporting of operations undertaken by the NCBs;
- the taking of measures relating to the establishment of the key for the ECB's capital subscription other than those laid down in the Treaty;
- the laying-down of the conditions of employment of the members of staff of the ECB; and
- the necessary preparations for irrevocably fixing the exchange rates of the currencies of the "EU Member States with a derogation" against the euro.
In accordance with the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, the General Council will be dissolved once all EU Member States have introduced the single currency.