Relations with international institutions

Institutional context

The ECB is involved in international economic cooperation in respect of tasks entrusted to the Eurosystem. Its involvement depends on the tasks concerned and ranges from the representation of policy positions (single monetary policy) to the formulation of the ECB’s own positions alongside those of other policy-makers in the European Union.

The ECB's involvement in international cooperation is based on rules laid down in Article 138 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 6(1) and 12 (5) of the Statute of the ESCB.

The international relations of the ECB

One important element of the ECB’s international cooperation consists of the mutual exchange of information and views with other policy-makers in multilateral organisations and fora. In particular, the mutual assessment of economic developments and policies in major countries and economic areas, especially in the G20 context, enhances the ECB’s ability to analyse the impact of external developments on the euro area economy. Given its voluntary and non-binding nature, this form of cooperation does not impinge on the ECB’s independence.

Exchanges of information and views and the mutual assessment of policies are complemented by surveillance, including of the euro area, carried out by independent organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These organisations regularly monitor and assess the economic developments and policies of their member countries. Whenever euro area monetary policy is under review, the ECB is the sole counterpart in discussions with these organisations. International surveillance adds to the transparency of the ECB as the assessments of euro area economic policies are published.

The ECB also participates, within its areas of competence, in the efforts of the international community to develop rules and best practices to improve financial stability and the efficiency and transparency of policy-making. The notion of good public governance is indeed a central component of international cooperation.

Finally, the ECB may coordinate its actions with those of central banks outside the euro area countries under exceptional circumstances.

The ECB:

  • has permanent observer status at the IMF;
  • participates in these fora: G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G8 Information Centre), and others;
  • is a member and shareholder of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The ECB participates in the BIS governing and oversight bodies and in all committees and working groups based on this institution, including the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, the Committee on the Global Financial System, and the Markets Committee;
  • participates in a number of committees and working groups of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where it acts as a separate member of the European Union delegation alongside the European Commission;
  • participates in the new Financial Stability Board set up in April 2009 by G20 leaders as a successor to the Financial Stability Forum (FSF).

In addition, the ECB has extensive bilateral relations, including with central banks from all over the world, and participates in the activities of several regional and inter-regional fora, as well as regional and multilateral development banks.

Related ECB publications

  • The External Representation of the EU and EMU, in ECB Monthly Bulletin, May 2011
  • The ECB’s relations with international organisations and fora, in ECB Monthly Bulletin, January 2001