Legal working papers

In-depth studies for experts

Our Legal Working Paper Series (LWPS) disseminates legal research and doctrine on issues relevant to the tasks and functions of the ECB and the ESCB. Legal Working Papers (LWPs) constitute “work in progress”. They are published to stimulate discussion and contribute to the development of community, monetary and financial law. They are addressed to experts, so readers should be knowledgeable in the legal field.

Availability: ECB Legal Working Papers are available online only.

No. 17
6 July 2018
The Eurosystem and the Single Supervisory Mechanism: institutional continuity under constitutional constraints


JEL Classification

K10 : Law and Economics→Basic Areas of Law→General

K40 : Law and Economics→Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior→General


This paper analyses regulatory solutions that have been adopted to address constitutional constraints imposed on the functioning of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), in which the ECB’s exclusive supervisory competence is carried out. It argues that the operational framework governing the functioning of the SSM has assimilated, to a certain extent, three specific regulatory solutions underpinning the workings of the ESCB/Eurosystem: 1) the (legislative) allocation of certain tasks and responsibilities between ECB internal administrative bodies and structures; 2) the possibility of internal delegation of decision-making powers; and 3) the decentralised exercise of certain of the Union’s tasks. Such a design of the SSM reflects institutional continuity concerning a political choice on how to achieve stage one of a genuine Economic and Monetary Union. It concludes that the Union operates at its best when centralised decision-making on substantial policy issues is combined with a decentralised operational framework allowing for the meaningful involvement of national administrations in the exercise of Union exclusive competences.

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