The ECB operating as a catalyst

The role of the ECB as a catalyst is to facilitate private sector efforts to improve market efficiency. The integration of European market infrastructures, including payment services, is a market-driven process, but coordination problems can arise and the interests of different stakeholders need to be balanced. As a neutral party, the ECB tries to balance conflicting interests while promoting the following objectives:

  • Safety and security
  • Efficiency
  • Market integration

What tools does the ECB use?

The ECB uses various tools, including presentations, speeches, reports, studies and press releases. It assesses and measures progress towards objectives. It organises regular formal meetings of all relevant stakeholders in the form of the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) and the Advisory Group on Market Infrastructures for Payments (AMI-Pay).

It participates as an observer and/or active member in relevant groups, such as the CPMI, EPC, EACHA and ISO. It is also involved in informal discussions with stakeholders and presents its views and opinions to other authorities, such as the European Commission, including commenting on legislative proposals.

If self-regulation and moral suasion are not sufficient, the ECB can also consider stronger tools, such as legislation, regulation or even the direct operational involvement of central banks.

ECB as catalyst: What tools does the ECB use?

The ECB contributed to the creation of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) through close cooperation with the market and the European Commission, including by issuing progress reports and monitoring the migration to the SEPA payment instruments. The ECB also promotes pan-European instant payment solutions, in particular through the work of the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB).