Decisions taken by the Governing Council of the ECB (in addition to decisions setting interest rates) December 2005

Operational issues

Allotment volume for the longer-term refinancing operations for 2006

On 15 December 2005 the Governing Council decided on the allotment volume for the longer-term refinancing operations for 2006. A press release containing further information has been published today on the ECB’s website.

ECB’s foreign reserve management

On 15 December 2005 the Governing Council approved several amendments to the framework for the management of the foreign reserves of the ECB, to be implemented in the course of January 2006. The new framework foresees a so-called currency specialisation, according to which euro area national central banks (NCBs) will no longer necessarily participate in the operational management of both a US dollar and a Japanese yen portfolio on behalf of the ECB. An NCB may also decide to abstain from the operational management of the foreign reserves of the ECB, while continuing to participate in the strategic choices regarding the management of foreign reserves. The changes to the framework have been introduced as a step towards achieving the objective of rationalising and making more efficient the decentralised implementation of foreign reserves management within the Eurosystem. The changes are internal to the Eurosystem and will thus have no market impact.

On 15 December 2005 the Governing Council adopted a Guideline amending Guideline ECB/2000/1 on the management of the foreign reserve assets of the European Central Bank by the national central banks and the legal documentation for operations involving the foreign reserve assets of the European Central Bank. The Guideline takes into account the use of the European Master Agreement (EMA) for certain ECB foreign reserve management transactions with counterparties organised or incorporated in Sweden. The Guideline will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Financial stability and integration

Eurosystem contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation on the Green Paper on mortgage credit in the EU

On 1 December 2005 the Governing Council approved the above-mentioned contribution, which is available on all Eurosystem websites.

Advice on legislation

ECB Opinion on remuneration for cash storage in Sweden

On 18 November 2005, at the request of Sveriges Riksbank, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on interest cost remuneration paid by Sveriges Riksbank to undertakings that separate and store cash (CON/2005/48). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Czech statistical reporting requirements

On 30 November 2005, at the request of Česká národní banka, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on statistical reporting requirements for banks and foreign bank branches (CON/2005/49). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the new EU regime for introduction of the euro

On 1 December 2005, at the request of the Council of the European Union, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the regime for introduction of the euro in the Member States that have not yet adopted the euro (CON/2005/51). The Opinion was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 13 December 2005 and is also available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Hungarian statistical reporting requirements

On 5 December 2005, at the request of Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on Magyar Nemzeti Bank’s statistical reporting requirements regarding new types of data (CON/2005/52). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on deadlines relating to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive

On 9 December 2005, at the request of the Council of the European Union, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on extension of the deadlines for transposition and application of Directive 2004/39/EC on markets in financial instruments (CON/2005/53). The Opinion will be published by the end of the year in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on amendments to Sveriges Riksbank’s statutes

On 12 December 2005, at the request of the Swedish Parliament, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to Sveriges Riksbank’s statutes (CON/2005/54). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the Slovak state treasury system

On 12 December 2005, at the request of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on changes to the state treasury system (CON/2005/55). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on EU payer information requirements for transfers of funds

On 15 December 2005, at the request of the Council of the European Union, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on information on the payer accompanying transfers of funds (CON/2005/56). The Opinion will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Statistics

Update of the EU Balance of Payments Book

An updated version of the “European Union balance of payments/international investment position statistical methods” (“B.o.p. Book”) was published on the ECB’s website on 25 November 2005. It documents the methodology and practices applied by European Union Member States and Acceding Countries for the compilation of balance of payments and international investment position statistics, thereby also enhancing the transparency of these external statistics of the euro area.

Issuance of banknotes and coins

Volume of coin issuance in 2006

On 9 December 2005 the Governing Council adopted a Decision on the approval of the volume of coin issuance in 2006 (ECB/2005/14). The Decision will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Implementation of the framework for banknote recycling

On 15 December 2005 the Governing Council adopted a manual of internal rules supplementing the “Framework for the detection of counterfeits and fitness sorting of euro banknotes by credit institutions and other professional cash handlers”, which the ECB published in January 2005. The manual contains common rules on the testing of banknote handling machines by Eurosystem NCBs and the publication on the ECB’s website of the types of machines that have successfully passed the test. Moreover, it sets out common principles for the reporting requirements of credit institutions and other professional cash handlers to Eurosystem NCBs for banknotes recycled through ATMs and other customer-operated machines.

Corporate governance

Chairmanship of the Human Resources Conference (HRC)

Following the establishment in November 2005 of the Human Resources Conference (a forum for the exchange of experience, expertise and information on relevant human resources issues, policies and practices within the NCBs and the ECB), the Governing Council appointed Mr Koenraad De Geest, Director General Human Resources, Budget and Organisation, as chairman of the HRC with immediate effect. His term of office will expire on 31 August 2007.

New ECB premises project

Outcome of the optimisation phase

On 15 December 2005 the Governing Council took note of the outcome of the optimisation phase of the New ECB Premises project aimed at ensuring the optimal use of resources and minimising costs, approved the accordingly revised design concept and building specifications, and decided on the start of the planning phase of the project.

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