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 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 Eurosystem and the ESCB will continue to co-exist.


The ECB is a supranational organisation with its own legal personality under international public law, and is the core of the Eurosystem and the ESCB.

The ECB was established on 1 June 1998 in Frankfurt. It took over the tasks of the European Monetary Institute (EMI) and, 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 their own legal personality 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 independently perform other duties outside the Eurosystem, providing the Governing Council does not consider that these activities interfere with the tasks and objectives of the Eurosystem.