What is the European Central Bank?

The European Central Bank (ECB) was created in 1998 to implement monetary policy in the euro area. Today, the ECB is the central bank of the 19 countries that use the euroOpens in new window as their official currency (see Countries using the euroOpens in new window). The euro is the official currency of over 340 million people.

The ECB and the national central banks of these 19 countries together form the Eurosystem; they are independent central banks, meaning that governments have no controlling or management powers over them. However, the governors of the central banks are selected by the respective countries’ democratic institutions (parliaments or governments), to which they must regularly report, for example through parliamentary appearances.

The President of ECB is appointed by the European Council for a period of eight years. Christine LagardeOpens in new window has been the President of the ECB since November 2019, and Luis de GuindosOpens in new window its Vice-President since June 2018.