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Fresh insights into the ECB’s activities.

What are TARGET2 balances?

12 August 2020

When money is sent from one country to another using TARGET2, the net flow of money is recorded on the balance sheets of their national central banks. How do TARGET2 balances work and why have they been increasing over the past few years?


What are additional credit claim (ACC) frameworks?

15 May 2020

To ensure that banks have full access to central bank liquidity, even in adverse circumstances, the Eurosystem made it possible for national central banks to temporarily accept additional collateral beyond the generally accepted assets. Find out how it came about and how it works.


What is a lender of last resort?

26 August 2019

When banks run out of funds, they turn to their lender of last resort for help. But who is that and how do they help to stabilise the banking system in times of crisis? Find out more about emergency lending for banks.


All you need to know about benchmark rates

11 July 2019

Interest rate benchmarks are a key part of our economy. But what is it exactly that makes them so important? Why are they currently undergoing reforms? And what is the €STR?


What is economic slack?

18 July 2018

The word slack is used often in economic discussions. What is it, why is it important for central banks and how is it measured?


What is the European Central Bank?

1 June 2018

Want to know more about what the European Central Bank does and how it relates to you in your daily life? Check out our 20-year anniversary explainer to find out!
Our birthday is 1 June 1998. That’s when we started work to prepare for the new single currency, the euro.


What does a country need to do to join the euro area?

23 May 2018

The euro has been introduced in 19 of 27 EU Member States. What do non-euro area countries need to do to join the euro area?


What is a deposit guarantee scheme?

11 April 2018

Banks pay into a deposit guarantee scheme to make sure their customers’ deposits are safe even in times of crisis. So far, such schemes are organised on a national level. There are proposals to introduce a European scheme. Find out how these schemes work.


What is excess liquidity?

28 December 2017

Since the financial crisis, there has been more money – or liquidity – in the banking system as a whole than is strictly needed. But what exactly is excess liquidity? What can banks do with it? And why does the ECB allow it to exist?


The euro area in comparison

25 August 2017

The euro area connects 340 million people from 19 countries under a single currency. How does the euro area compare with other major economies? What is its role in international trade? And what does that mean for Europeans?


How does innovation lead to growth?

27 June 2017

Innovation is an essential driver of economic progress that benefits consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole. How does it play that role, how does it contribute to economic growth and what can be done to promote it?


A quick guide to macroprudential policies

24 May 2017

Every six months the ECB publishes its Financial Stability Review. The ECB and other authorities ensure financial stability through macroprudential policies – find out the how, what and why.


Why are stable prices important?

8 May 2017

The ECB’s primary objective is to keep prices stable. This means inflation rates should be “below, but close to, 2% over the medium term”. Why not 4%? Or 0%? And what’s wrong with prices going down anyway? Find out here.


How could new technology transform financial markets?

19 April 2017

Distributed ledger technology and blockchain are the subject of debate around innovation in financial markets. What are they and why is the ECB looking into them?


Does the ECB make a profit?

16 February 2017

The quick answer is: usually, yes. In 2018 the ECB made a profit of €1.6 billion. But where this money goes might come as a surprise – it can even benefit you. How? Find out here.


Five things you need to know about the Maastricht Treaty

15 February 2017

The Maastricht Treaty was signed 25 years ago on 7 February 1992. But what exactly is it? And how has it changed Europe?


Why is the ECB independent?

12 January 2017

The ECB’s political independence is a cornerstone of the euro area’s monetary system. Find out why the ECB has been set up as an independent institution, how its independence is safeguarded and what the ECB does to ensure accountability.


What is securities lending?

8 December 2016

The Eurosystem is buying large amounts of securities to address the risks of inflation being too low for too long. This can lead to fewer securities being available in the market. Securities lending allows the market to keep access to these securities.


What are haircuts?

3 November 2016

Haircuts are a tool for minimising risks associated with lending money. The Eurosystem uses them whenever it lends money to commercial banks. But what exactly are they and how do they work?


Why do statistics matter?

19 October 2016

Take a look at why statistics matter for the ECB and the people we serve – the citizens of the 19 countries that have adopted the euro.


Why does the ECB conduct research?

28 September 2016

High-quality research at central banks is more valuable than ever. Find out why we conduct research, how it supports monetary policy and how we decide on research topics.


What are currency swap lines?

27 September 2016

Central banks across the world are linked to each other through a network of currency swap lines. But what exactly are currency swap lines, why are they needed and how do they work?


What are instant payments?

26 September 2016

Why, in a world of smartphones and instant messages, can it still take a day or more to make an electronic payment? Find out what we are doing to help your bank offer you instant payments, wherever you are in Europe.


What is the role of exchange rates?

28 June 2016

Exchange rates affect our daily lives in many ways, for example when we go on holiday outside the euro area, when we buy products made overseas or when we fill up the car at the petrol station. Exchange rates influence prices and growth. Find out what this means for monetary policy.


Spotlight on financial stability

24 May 2016

A stable financial system is resilient against shocks. But what does that mean in practice? And how does the ECB support financial stability?


What is ANFA?

5 February 2016

ANFA is the Agreement on Net Financial Assets between the national central banks of the euro area and the ECB. It sets rules and limits for non-monetary policy holdings which are related to national tasks of the national central banks within the Eurosystem.


How does the ECB's asset purchase programme work?

22 January 2016

A year after the ECB launched its expanded asset purchase programme (APP), its impact is becoming visible. Find out how the programme works and how you benefit from it.


What is money?

24 November 2015

Euro banknotes and coins are money but so is the balance on a bank account. What actually is money? How is it created and what is the ECB’s role?


What is AnaCredit?

11 November 2015

AnaCredit will be a new dataset with detailed information on individual bank loans in the euro area. The name stands for “analytical credit datasets”.


Five things you need to know about the ECB

10 July 2015

If we asked you to name some basic things about the ECB, what would you say? Here are five key points.


Is the ECB “expropriating” savers?

18 May 2015

Are the ECB’s low policy interest rates a tax on savers? A new study shows that the decisive factor for savers over the medium and longterm is not central bank policy interest rates but the state of the economy.


What is the expanded asset purchase programme?

22 January 2015

On 22 January 2015 the ECB announced an expanded asset purchase programme. This programme adds the purchase of sovereign bonds to the ECB's existing private sector asset purchase programmes to address the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation.


Rotation of voting rights in the Governing Council

1 December 2014

The national central bank governors take turns holding voting rights on the Governing Council. Find out how decisions are taken and why the rotations system of voting rights was introduced.


The ECB`s negative interest rate

12 June 2014

On 5 June 2014 the Governing Council’s decided to introduce a negative interest rate on the deposit facility. What is the rationale behind this decision? How does it affect your savings?


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