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

February 2008

Operational Issues

Renewal of supplementary longer-term refinancing operations

On 7 February 2008 the Governing Council decided to renew the two supplementary longer-term refinancing operations (LTROs) that were allotted on 23 November 2007 and 12 December 2007. The former matured on 21 February 2008 and the latter will mature on 13 March 2008. This decision was announced in a press release issued on 7 February 2008.

Payment Systems and Market Infrastructure

Joint ECB and European Commission statement on the launch of SEPA

On 24 January 2008 the Governing Council decided to issue a joint statement with the European Commission to welcome the formal launch of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) as well as the launch of SEPA instruments by EU banks. The joint statement was issued on 28 January 2008 and is available on the ECB’s website.

Public consultation on CCBM2 User Requirements

On 21 February 2008 the Governing Council took note of the draft user requirements for CCBM2 which have been drawn up in accordance with the CCBM2 guiding principles and reflect the input provided by market participants in their responses to the initial consultation, which closed in July 2007. The Governing Council decided to launch a public consultation on the related documents, which will end on 5 May 2008. A press release announcing the launch of this public consultation will be published on the ECB’s website on Tuesday 26 February.

Advice on Legislation

ECB Opinion on the tenure of Executive Board members of Sveriges Riksbank

On 14 January 2008, at the request of the Swedish Parliament, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to Sveriges Riksbank’s statutes regarding the terms of office of members of its Executive Board (CON/2008/4). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the Polish deposit protection scheme

On 17 January 2008, at the request of the Polish Minister for Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments relating to the governance, supervision and mode of financing of the deposit protection scheme, in particular as regards the participation of Narodowy Bank Polski (CON/2008/5). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the Portuguese National Statistical System

On 1 February 2008, at the request of the Portuguese Parliament, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the principles, rules and structure of the National Statistical System and the role of Banco de Portugal (CON/2008/6). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on cheques, bills of exchange and promissory notes in Romania

On 11 February 2008, at the request of Banca Naţională a României, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to the laws on cheques, bills of exchange and promissory notes (CON/2008/7). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the status and monetary regime of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy under French law

On 14 February 2008, at the request of the French Ministry of Economic Affairs, Finance and Employment, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the consequences for their monetary regime of the change of status of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy under French law (CON/2008/8). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on employment legislation relating to the Deutsche Bundesbank

On 21 February 2008, at the request of the German Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the Deutsche Bundesbank’s employment relationships with its staff (CON/2008/9). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on staff remuneration and government deposits at the Banca d’Italia

On 21 February 2008, at the request of the Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on remuneration at the Banca d'Italia and on structural reform to the government account held with Banca d’Italia (CON/2008/10). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

Statistics and Payment Systems

Cross-border payments in euro

On 7 February 2008 the Governing Council decided, in the interests of the SEPA project, to encourage all euro area countries that continue to rely on payments data for compiling balance of payments statistics (i) to raise the exemption threshold for balance of payments reporting to €50,000 during 2008, and (ii) to commence using, in 2009 at the latest, an optional field and a fully harmonised coding system in SEPA messages to classify payments by type for this purpose. The Governing Council also suggested that in updating Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euro, the European Commission should clarify that the above-mentioned threshold does not apply in cases when statistical requirements (i) have no impact on the straight-through processing of SEPA payments within the banking system, (ii) can be fully automated by banks, and (iii) do not result in higher costs to customers for cross-border payments than for domestic payments. Finally, in order to further alleviate the reporting burden and to enhance the quality of the statistics, the Governing Council stated that it favoured the elimination of any legal impediments to the exchange of information among EU statistical authorities, while maintaining the required confidentiality safeguards.

Statistics

Improving the accessibility of euro area statistics

On 8 February 2008 the Governing Council decided to improve the accessibility of euro area statistics by adding three sets of statistics to the “joint dissemination framework”, whereby both euro area statistics and the national contributions are published simultaneously and consistently on the ECB’s website and on the websites of the national central banks that wish to do so. These three sets of statistics concern payments and securities trading, clearing and settlement; statistics on financial corporations; and general economic statistics such as GDP or HICP statistics.

Corporate Governance

ECB Recommendation on the external auditors of Suomen Pankki

On 28 January 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Recommendation to the EU Council on the external auditors of Suomen Pankki (ECB/2008/1). The Recommendation was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 1 February 2008 and is also available on the ECB’s website.

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