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

December 2008

Operational Issues

Amendment to the Agreement on the operating procedures for an exchange rate mechanism in Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union

On 8 December 2008 an Agreement was signed amending the Agreement of 16 March 2006 (as last amended on 20 December 2007) between the ECB and the national central banks of the Member States outside the euro area laying down the operating procedures for an exchange rate mechanism in Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union. The Agreement will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Changes to the monetary policy operational framework

On 18 December 2008 the Governing Council decided to continue carrying out MROs as fixed rate tenders with full allotment beyond the maintenance period ending on 20 January 2009 for as long as needed, and at least until the last allotment of the third maintenance period in 2009 on 31 March. The Governing Council also decided to restore the corridor of the standing facilities, which on 9 October 2008 had been reduced to 100 points around the prevailing interest rate of the main refinancing operation, to 200 basis points around the interest rate on the main refinancing operation. Therefore, as of 21 January, the rate of the marginal lending facility will be increased from 50 to 100 basis points above the interest rate of the main refinancing operation, and the rate of the deposit facility will be reduced from 50 to 100 basis points below the rate of the main refinancing operationA related press release was published on 18 December 2008 and is available on the ECB’s website.

Payment systems and market Infrastructure

Brochure on the Correspondent Central Banking Model (CCBM)

On 15 December 2008 the Governing Council authorised the publication of an updated brochure entitled “CCBM procedures for Eurosystem counterparties” on the ECB’s website in December 2008.

Update of the list eligible securities settlement systems in the euro area

On 17 December 2008 the Governing Council updated the assessment of the securities settlement systems eligible for the settlement of Eurosystem credit operations against the standards published in 1998. A press release was published on the ECB’s website today.

Central Counterparty Clearing (CCP) for OTC credit derivatives

On 18 December 2008 the Governing Council considered the need to strengthen the infrastructure for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives in view of their systemic importance and welcomed initiatives by the European Commission aimed at introducing European central counterparty clearing facilities for OTC credit derivatives. In line with its earlier statement of September 2001 on the consolidation of central counterparty clearing and in view of the outcome of the meeting held at the ECB on 3 November 2008 (both available on the ECB’s website), the Governing Council confirmed that there was a need for at least one European CCP for credit derivatives and that, given the potential systemic importance of securities clearing and settlement systems, this infrastructure should be located within the euro area.

Financial stability and supervision

BSC report on the incentive structure of the originate and distribute model

On 4 December 2008 the Governing Council authorised the publication of the BSC report on the incentive structure of the “originate and distribute” model. The report presents the main developments in this model both before and during the financial market turmoil and analyses the structure of incentives of the major players involved and the potential conflicts of interest in the structured finance market. It finally considers possible market and public actions to mitigate the identified misalignment of incentives. The report was published on 15 December 2008 and is available on the ECB’s website.

BSC report on covered bonds in the EU

On 5 December 2008 the Governing Council authorised the publication of the BSC report on covered bonds in the EU. The report, which describes the main characteristics of covered bonds and briefly discusses the differences with asset-backed securities, analyses longer-term and more recent developments in the EU covered bond markets and investigates their implications for the stability of the EU financial system. The report places special emphasis on the most recent developments in covered bond markets including in particular their performance during the market turmoil until mid-November 2008. The report was published on the ECB’s website on 17 December 2008..

BSC report on commercial property markets

On 18 December 2008 the Governing Council approved the BSC report on commercial property markets and authorised its publication. The report discusses structural and more recent developments in EU commercial property markets, analyses the related exposure of EU banks, and investigates the implications of the developments in commercial property markets for the stability of the EU banking system. The report was published today on the ECB’s website.

Recommendations of the Governing Council of the ECB on government guarantees on bank debt and on the pricing of recapitalisations

On 18 December 2008 the Governing Council decided to publish two sets of recommendations regarding the granting of government guarantees on bank debt and the pricing of recapitalisations which it had prepared in order to support the implementation of the Paris declaration of 12 October 2008. These recommendations, which have been transmitted to the relevant national and European authorities, are available on the ECB’s website.

Advice on legislation

ECB Opinion on amendments to the statutes of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank)

On 21 November 2008, at the request of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank), the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to the statutes of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank) in preparation for the introduction of the euro (CON/2008/73). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on legislation related to a State guarantee in Belgium

On 21 November 2008, at the request of the Belgian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on a State guarantee aimed at avoiding liquidity outflows (CON/2008/74). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Finnish legislation on State capital investments in deposit banks

On 24 November 2008, at the request of the Finnish Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on State capital investment in deposit banks (CON/2008/75). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on financial stability measures in Slovenia

On 25 November 2008, at the request of the Slovenian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on State guarantees and other measures to maintain the stability of the financial system (CON/2008/76). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Community legislation relating to medium-term financial assistance

On 25 November 2008, at the request of the EU Council, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on a proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a facility providing medium-term financial assistance for Member States’ balances of payments (CON/2008/77). The Opinion will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on legislation related to payment and settlement systems in Bulgaria

On 26 November 2008, at the request of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank), the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the role of Българска народна банка (Bulgarian National Bank) relating to payment institutions and payment system operators, and oversight of payment and settlement systems (CON/2008/78). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Greek legislation aimed at enhancing liquidity in the economy

On 27 November 2008, at the request of the Greek Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on measures to enhance liquidity in the economy (CON/2008/79). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on State support measures for financial institutions in Poland

On 28 November 2008, at the request of the Polish Minister for Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the provision of State Treasury support to financial institutions (CON/2008/80). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on financial stability measures in Hungary

On 1 December 2008, at the request of the Hungarian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on measures to strengthen the financial intermediary system in order to maintain financial stability (CON/2008/81). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on the rules for payment of the Banco de España’s profits

On 2 December 2008, at the request of the Spanish State Secretary for Economic Affairs, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on the payment of Banco de España’s profits to the Treasury (CON/2008/82). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on changes to Magyar Nemzeti Bank’s statutes

On 2 December 2008, at the request of the Hungarian Ministry of Finance, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on aligning the Magyar Nemzeti Bank’s statutes with Community law (CON/2008/83). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on Community legislation on electronic money institutions

On 5 December 2008, at the request of the Council of the European Union, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on a directive on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions (CON/2008/84). The Opinion will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on French legislation related to financial instruments

On 8 December 2008, at the request of the French Ministry for Economic Affairs, Industry and Employment, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on modernisation of the legal framework for financial instruments (CON/2008/85). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on legislation on cash currency circulation in Slovakia

On 8 December 2008, at the request of Národná banka Slovenska, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on cash currency circulation (CON/2008/86). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on payment and securities settlement legislation in Spain

On 12 December 2008, at the request of the Spanish State Secretary for Economic Affairs, the Governing Council adopted an Opinion on amendments to the Law on payment and securities settlement systems (CON/2008/87). The Opinion is available on the ECB’s website.

International and european cooperation

Eurosystem technical assistance programme with the Central Bank of Egypt

On 24 November 2008 the Governing Council endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ECB and the Central Bank of Egypt establishing a Eurosystem three-year technical assistance programme to strengthen banking supervision in Egypt. The MoU was signed by President Trichet and the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt at an official ceremony that took place in Cairo on 26 November 2008. A press release was published on the same day and is available on the ECB’s website.

Corporate Governance

ECB Recommendation on the external auditors of the Central Bank of Malta

On 5 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Recommendation to the EU Council on the external auditors of the Central Bank of Malta (ECB/2008/19). The Recommendation was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 17 December 2008 and is also available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on the volume of coin issuance in 2009

On 11 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision on the approval of the volume of coin issuance in 2009 (ECB/2008/20). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Guideline on accounting and financial reporting

On 11 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Guideline amending Guideline ECB/2006/16 on the legal framework for accounting and financial reporting in the European System of Central Banks (ECB/2008/21). The Guideline will be published in the O fficial Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on the ECB’s annual accounts

On 11 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision amending Decision ECB/2006/17 on the annual accounts of the European Central Bank (ECB/2008/22). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on the national central banks' percentage share in the key for subscription to the ECB's capital

On 12 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision on the national central banks’ percentage shares in the key for subscription to the European Central Bank’s capital (ECB/2008/23). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on paying-up of the ECB’s capital by the participating national central banks

On 12 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision laying down the measures necessary for the paying-up of the European Central Bank’s capital by the participating national central banks (ECB/2008/24). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on transfers of the ECB’s capital shares between the national central banks

On 12 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision laying down the terms and conditions for transfers of the European Central Bank’s capital shares between the national central banks and for the adjustment of the paid-up capital (ECB/2008/25). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on the issue of euro banknotes

On 12 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision amending Decision ECB/2001/15 of 6 December 2001 on the issue of euro banknotes (ECB/2008/26). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on the ECB’s accumulated equity value and related adjustments to the national central bank's claims related to foreign reserve assets

On 12 December 2008 the Governing Council adopted a Decision laying down the measures necessary for the contribution to the European Central Bank’s accumulated equity value and for adjusting the national central banks’ claims equivalent to the transferred foreign reserve assets (ECB/2008/27). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

ECB Decision on paying-up of the ECB’s capital by non-participating national central banks

On 15 December 2008 the General Council adopted a Decision laying down the measures necessary for the paying-up of the European Central Bank’s capital by the non-participating national central banks (ECB/2008/28). The Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Decisions on postponement of the start of the rotation system in the ECB’s Governing Council and on the main aspects for its future implementation

On 18 December 2008 the Governing Council decided to continue its current voting regime and adopted the ECB Decision to postpone the start of the rotation system in the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB/2008/29). This Decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website. At the same time, the Governing Council decided on the main aspects for the implementation of the rotation system which will form part of a decision to be adopted at a later stage. A press release was published on 18 December 2008 and is available on the ECB’s website.

Chairmanship of the International Relations Committee (IRC)

On 18 December the Governing Council appointed Mr José Viñals, currently Deputy Governor of the Banco de España, as Chairman of the IRC as of 1 January 2009. His term as IRC Chairman will expire on 31 August 2010, so as to coincide with the expiry of the terms of office of all the other Eurosystem/ESCB committee chairpersons, who were (re-)appointed by the Governing Council on 19 July 2007 for a three-year period.

Eurosystem Procurement Coordination Office (EPCO) 2009 budget and procurement plan

On 18 December 2008 the Governing Council approved the 2009 EPCO budget and procurement plan.

Issuance of banknotes and coins

Annual progress report on the framework for the detection of counterfeits and fitness sorting by credit institutions and other professional cash handlers

On 11 December 2008 the Governing Council, having taken note that the formal implementation of the Banknote Recycling Framework (BRF) vis-à-vis credit institutions and its application by the addressees of the BRF had made good progress during 2008, decided that national central banks would continue to closely monitor compliance with the BRF by credit institutions and other professional cash handlers in 2009.

New ECB Premises project

Relaunch the tender process for the construction works

On 28 November 2008 the Governing Council announced its decision to relaunch the tender process for the construction works for the ECB’s new premises in Frankfurt am Main, with around 15 distinct invitations to tender due to be issued in the course of 2009. The Governing Council will take its decision on whether or not to proceed with the project at the end of 2009.

Media contacts