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

December 2011

Market Operations

Coordinated central bank action to address pressures in global money markets

On 30 November 2011 the ECB, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the Federal Reserve and the Swiss National Bank jointly announced coordinated actions to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system. In that context, the Governing Council of the ECB decided in cooperation with other central banks to establish a temporary network of reciprocal swap lines with the partner central banks which will remain valid until 1 February 2013. The purpose of this network is to enable non-domestic currency to be provided, if needed, in addition to the existing operations in US dollars. Furthermore, the Governing Council decided to regularly conduct the existing US dollar liquidity-providing operations at a lower price and to reduce the initial margin for three-month US dollar operations while introducing weekly margin calls. A related press release and further operational details are available on the ECB’s website.

Measures to support bank lending and money market activity

On 8 December 2011 the Governing Council approved additional enhanced credit support measures to support bank lending and liquidity in the euro area money market. In particular, the Governing Council decided to: i) conduct two longer-term refinancing operations with a maturity of 36 months and the option of early repayment after one year; ii) discontinue, for the time being, the fine-tuning operations carried out on the last day of each maintenance period; iii) reduce the reserve ratio from 2% to 1% as from the reserve maintenance period starting on 18 January 2012; and iv) increase collateral availability. On 14 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted the relevant legal acts required to implement these measures, namely an ECB Decision on additional temporary measures relating to Eurosystem refinancing operations and eligibility of collateral (ECB/2011/25) and an ECB Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1745/2003 on the application of minimum reserves (ECB/2011/26). More detailed information on all these measures is provided in a press release available on the ECB’s website. The above legal acts will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Payment systems and market infrastructure

Assessment of direct and relayed links between securities settlement systems in the euro area

On 24 November 2011 the Governing Council approved the assessment of new direct and relayed links eligible to be used for the collateralisation of Eurosystem credit operations. A related press release and the updated list of all eligible direct and relayed links are available on the ECB’s website.

Advice on legislation

ECB Opinion on protection against counterfeiting and on the preservation of the quality of cash circulation in Italy

On 18 November 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance (CON/2011/94).

ECB Opinion on the recapitalisation of credit institutions by the Portuguese State

On 22 November 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Portuguese Ministry of State and for Finance (CON/2011/95).

ECB Opinion on fiscal responsibility in Slovakia

On 5 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on Finance and the Budget (CON/2011/96).

ECB Opinion on Estonia’s representation and the payment of quota shares in the International Monetary Fund

On 5 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of Riigikogu (CON/2011/97).

ECB Opinion on the legislation governing the financing of the central register of bank account numbers in Belgium 

On 7 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Belgian Ministry of Finance (CON/2011/98).

ECB Opinion on the revised amendments to Lietuvos bankas' profit distribution rules 

On 7 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of Lietuvos bankas (CON/2011/99).

ECB Opinion on the Finnish securities markets legislation 

On 7 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Finnish Ministry of Finance (CON/2011/101).

ECB Opinion on the payment of an increase in Romania’s International Monetary Fund quota

On 9 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of Banca Naţională a României (CON/2011/102).

ECB Opinion on the establishment and financing of a resolution fund and on the amended calculation of contributions to the deposit guarantee scheme in Belgium

On 12 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Belgian Ministry of Finance (CON/2011/103).

ECB Opinion on the Magyar Nemzeti Bank

On 14 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Hungarian Ministry for the National Economy (CON/2011/104).

ECB Opinion on the authentication of euro coins and handling of euro coins unfit for circulation and the imposition of administrative measures and penalties in Malta

On 9 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Central Bank of Malta (CON/2011/105).

ECB Opinion on the Magyar Nemzeti Bank’s independence

On 22 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion (CON/2011/106) which, together with a related press release, is available on the ECB’s website.

ECB Opinion on amendments to the Greek resolution regime for credit institutions

On 22 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the Greek Ministry of Finance (CON/2011/107). The Opinion will be published shortly on the ECB’s website.

Statistics

Amendment of legal acts on the statistical reporting requirements of the ECB in the field of external statistics

On 9 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted a Guideline (ECB/2011/23) and a Recommendation (ECB/2011/24) on the statistical reporting requirements of the ECB in the field of external statistics. The recast of the Guideline incorporates changes in the relevant international statistical standards while the Recommendation is addressed to the Central Statistics Office of Ireland and the National Statistics Office of Malta that compile balance of payments and international investment position statistics in those Member States. Both legal acts will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Corporate governance

Opinion of the ECB Governing Council on a Council recommendation on the appointment of a member of the Executive Board of the ECB

On 7 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted this Opinion at the request of the President of the European Council (CON/2011/100).

Chair of the International Relations Committee (IRC)

On 8 December 2011 the Governing Council appointed Wolfgang Duchatczek, Vice-Governor of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, as Chair of the IRC with immediate effect. His term as IRC Chairman will expire on 31 August 2013 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 22 July 2010 for a three-year period.

ECB Recommendation to the Council of the European Union on the external auditors of De Nederlandsche Bank

On 9 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted a recommendation to the Council on the external auditors of De Nederlandsche Bank (ECB/2011/22). The Recommendation was published in the Official Journal of the EU and is available on the ECB’s website.

Eurosystem Procurement Coordination Office (EPCO) budget and procurement plan for 2012

On 19 December 2011 the Governing Council approved the EPCO’s budget and procurement plan for 2012.

Invitation to Hrvatska narodna banka (the Croatian national bank) to participate as an observer in the General Council and ESCB committees

On 21 December 2011 the Governing Council decided to grant observer status to experts from Hrvatska narodna banka with respect to ESCB committees when they meet in the ESCB composition. On 22 December 2011 the General Council decided to invite the Governor of the Central Bank of Croatia to participate in its meetings as an observer. These decisions, which are in line with the approach taken for the central banks of the ten accession countries in 2003 and for Bulgaria and Romania in 2005, follow the signature by Croatia of the Accession Treaty on 9 December 2011.

ECB Guideline amending the legal framework for accounting and financial reporting in the ESCB

On 21 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted the ECB Guideline amending Guideline ECB/2010/20 on the legal framework for accounting and financial reporting in the European System of Central Banks (ECB/2011/27). The Guideline will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB’s website.

Issuance of banknotes and coins / Banknotes

ECB Decision on the volume of coin issuance for 2012

On 1 December 2011 the Governing Council adopted Decision ECB/2011/21 on the approval of the volume of coin issuance in 2012. The Decision was published in the Official Journal of the EU and is available on the ECB’s website.

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