What is the purpose of the National Bank?

The National Bank has been Belgium’s central bank since 1850.

Since the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999 it has been part of the Eurosystem, which consists of the European Central Bank (ECB), based in Frankfurt, and the national central banks of the European Union Member States which have adopted the euro. Those countries make up what is known as the euro area. The Eurosystem is responsible for conducting monetary policy for the whole of that area, with the objective assigned by the Maastricht Treaty of ensuring price stability, an essential condition for sustained economic growth.

The governor of the National Bank is a member of the Governing Council, the main decision-making body of the Eurosystem, particularly as regards monetary policy; the Bank participates in the preparation and execution of its decisions.

Apart from monetary policy, the National Bank takes on other tasks which can be classified as follows:

  • the printing of banknotes and the placing in circulation of coins and notes
  • the collection, circulation and analysis of economic and financial information
  • the micro- and macro-prudential supervision of the financial sector
  • the role of financial ambassador  to international economic institutions
  • services for the State
  • services for the financial sector
  • services for the general public