The ESCB, the Eurosystem, the ECB and the national central banks

The ESCB and the Eurosystem

The European System of Central Banks (ESCB) established under the Treaty on European Union (TEU) is made up of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of all the Member States of the European Union (EU), regardless of whether or not they have adopted the euro.

The Eurosystem, in turn, groups together the ECB and the national central banks of the Member States whose currency is the euro.

Therefore, as long as there are Member States that have not adopted the euro, the distinction between the Eurosystem and the ESCB will be maintained.


The ECB, a supranational organisation with an independent legal status under international public law, constitutes the core of the Eurosystem and the ESCB.

The ECB was created on 1 June 1998 in Frankfurt and since then, has performed the functions of the European Monetary Institute (EMI). Since 1 January 1999, it has been responsible for implementing the euro area's monetary policy.

The national central banks

The national central banks have independent legal status under the national legislation of their respective countries.

The national central banks of the euro area make up the Eurosystem and, as such, perform the duties entrusted to them according to the regulations established by the ECB.

The national central banks can also perform other duties outside the Eurosystem independently, providing the Governing Council does not consider that these activities interfere with the tasks and objectives of the Eurosystem.