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ECB glossary

cash/settlement approach

An accounting approach under which accounting events are recorded at the settlement date.

central bank

An institution which - by way of a legal act - has been given responsibility for conducting the monetary policy for a specific area.

central bank independence

The legal provision which guarantees that a central bank can carry out its tasks and duties without political interference. Article 130 TFEU establishes the principle of central bank independence for the euro area.

central rate

The exchange rate of each ERM II member’s currency vis-à-vis the euro, around which the ERM II fluctuation margins are defined. See also exchange rate mechanism II (ERM II)


See Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

clean price

The transaction price excluding any rebate/accrued interest, but including any transaction costs that form part of the price.

contingent liability

Obligation that arises only upon the realisation of a particular event (e.g. state guarantee).

convergence criteria

The four criteria set out in Article 140(1) TFEU that must be fulfilled by each EU Member State before it can adopt the euro, namely a stable price level, sound public finances (a deficit and a level of debt that are both limited in terms of GDP), a stable exchange rate and low and stable long-term interest rates. In addition, each EU Member State must ensure the compatibility of its national legislation, including the statutes of the national central bank, with both the TFEU and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank.

convergence programme

A programme outlining the path towards the achievement of reference values indicated in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, containing medium-term government plans and assumptions regarding the development of key economic variables. Measures to consolidate fiscal balances are also highlighted, together with underlying economic scenarios. Convergence programmes normally cover the following three to four years and are updated annually. They are examined by the European Commission and the Economic and Financial Committee, whose reports serve as the basis for an assessment by the ECOFIN Council. Following the start of Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union, EU Member States with a derogation continue to submit convergence programmes, whereas countries which are members of the euro area present annual stability programmes, in accordance with the Stability and Growth Pact. See also Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)

Copenhagen criteria (accession criteria)

The criteria defined by the Copenhagen European Council in June 1993 (and confirmed by the Madrid European Council in December 1995) that must be fulfilled by any country wishing to join the European Union. Included are political criteria (stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for minorities), economic criteria (a functioning market economy) and the incorporation into national law of the acquis communautaire (the EU's body of law).

cost of the external financing of non-financial corporations

The cost incurred by non-financial corporations when taking up new external funds. For euro area non-financial corporations, it is calculated as a weighted average of the cost of bank lending, the cost of debt securities and the cost of equity, based on the amounts outstanding (corrected for valuation effects) and deflated by inflation expectations.

Council of the European Union (EU Council)

An EU institution made up of representatives of the governments of the Member States, normally the ministers responsible for the matters under consideration. The EU Council meeting in the composition of the ministers of economics and finance is often referred to as the "Ecofin Council". See also European Council

Court of Justice

See Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

The EU institution that rules on the interpretation and application of EU law and reviews the legality of acts of the EU institutions. It consists of the Court of Justice and the General Court.

cross-currency swap

A contractual agreement with a counterparty to exchange cash flows representing streams of periodic interest payments in two different currencies. See also interest rate swap

current transfers

Transfers of the general government (e.g. relating to international cooperation), payments of current taxes on income and wealth, and other transfers, such as workers’ remittances, which are not related to capital expenditure; they also include production and import subsidies, social benefits and transfers to EU institutions. See also general government

cyclical component of the budget balance

The effect on the budget balance of the output gap. See also output gap