Monetary policy

The primary objective of the ECB’s monetary policy is to maintain price stability. The ECB aims at inflation rates of below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.


Inflation refers to a general increase in consumer prices and is measured by an index which has been harmonised across all EU Member States: Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). The HICP is the measure of inflation which the Governing Council uses to define and assess price stability in the euro area as a whole in quantitative terms.

Inflation in the euro area (annual percentage changes, non-seasonally adjusted)

Source: Eurostat. Data prior to 1996 are estimated on the basis of non-harmonised national Consumer Price Indices (CPIs). Average inflation since 1999.

Key publications