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Financial market integration

Financial market integration is essential for an effective monetary union and important for financial stability. This is because integrated, safe and efficient payments and securities settlement systems mean:

  • monetary policy can be transmitted smoothly across the whole euro area
  • financial assets can be moved efficiently and safely irrespective of borders

More information about the payment and securities settlement systems developed and operated by the Eurosystem can be found under TARGET Services.

In our role as a catalyst, the Eurosystem tries to increase the level of integration by ensuring that harmonised standards, rules and processes are defined and implemented by the financial market. We also explore fintech innovation that has the potential to bring greater efficiency to the field of payment services.

What is the ECB doing to promote integration and drive harmonisation?

As regards retail payments, the ECB contributed to harmonising the way non-cash euro payments are made by actively facilitating the development of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Another area in which the ECB is currently driving harmonisation is that of post-trade, i.e. the technical, regulatory and market activities related to securities settlement and the safe and efficient mobilisation of collateral in the euro area.

Find more information about the ECB’s activities to promote integration and harmonisation in these key areas:

EU issuance service

The ECB supports the EU issuance service (EIS) for the settlement of debt securities under the Next Generation EU programme, as well as of other debt instruments issued by the European Commission on behalf of the European Union (EU) and Euratom.

The European Commission uses the EIS to issue its debt securities through the National Bank of Belgium Securities Settlement System (NBB-SSS), a central securities depository (CSD) owned and operated by the Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique.

The EIS allows the distribution of securities via the NBB-SSS as issuer CSD and its links with investor CSDs throughout the EU, ensuring level playing field access for investors and promoting post-trade harmonisation at the European level. The securities will be settled in central bank money in TARGET2-Securities (T2S), but CSDs not participating in T2S can also access the securities. 

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Commission, NBB-SSS and ECB (on behalf of the Eurosystem) sets the framework under which the EIS operates and determines the Eurosystem’s involvement in the governance and monitoring of the EIS.

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