Monetary policy decision-making

The Eurosystem’s conduct of monetary policy is based on two principles: Decisions are taken centrally by the ECB Governing Council and are implemented on a decentralised basis by the national central banks.

The ECB has three decision-making bodies:

1. The Governing Council

The ECB building in Frankfurt-am-Main

The Governing Council is the main decision-making body of the ECB. It consists of the six members of the ECB's Executive Board, plus the governors of the national central banks of the 20 euro area countries.

The Governing Council usually meets twice a month.

The Governing Council assesses economic, monetary and financial developments and takes its monetary policy decisions every six weeks. At the other meetings, the Council discusses mainly issues related to other tasks and responsibilities of the ECB and the Eurosystem. To ensure that the ECB’s monetary policy and other tasks are segregated from its supervisory responsibilities, separate meetings of the Governing Council are held.

Monetary policy decisions are explained in detail at a press conference. The ECB President, assisted by the Vice-President, chairs the press conference.

In addition, the ECB publishes regular accounts of the Governing Council’s monetary policy meetings before the date of the next meeting.

The accession of Lithuania to the euro area on 1 January 2015 triggered a system whereby national central bank governors take turns in the right to vote on the Governing Council.

More information about how the system works and why it exists can be found here:

Other relevant links for this section


2. The ECB Executive Board

The ECB Executive Board consists of the ECB President, the Vice-President and four other members. All members are appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

The ECB Executive Board is responsible for the day-to-day management of the ECB and prepares the meetings of the Governing Council. It is responsible for the implementation of the monetary policy decisions passed by the Governing Council, and to that end gives the necessary instructions to the national central banks of the euro area.

3. The General Council

The General Council comprises the President and the Vice-President of the ECB plus the governors of the national central banks (NCBs) of the 27 EU Member States. As a rule, it meets four times a year and will continue to exist for so long as there are EU Member States which have not yet introduced the euro. It deals with subjects that concern both the monetary union and the other EU Member States.