European System of Central Banks (ESCB)
Système européen des banques centrales (SEBC)
Established as an integral part of F-XF2147 - European Union (EU). Establishment was envisaged in the T-XT9113 - Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), 7 Feb 1992, together with that of the European Central Bank, under the 3rd stage of F-XF4335 - European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The H-XE7137 - Committee of Governors of the Central Banks of the Member States of the European Economic Community was closely involved in drawing up the ESCB statute, which is laid down in a protocol to the Maastricht Treaty. H-XF2874 - European Monetary Institute (EMI), set up 1 Jan 1994, under the second stage of EMU, prepared the regulatory, organizational and logistic framework necessary for the ESCB to perform its tasks; its work was completed 31 May 1998 and succeeded on 1 Jun 1998 by establishment of ECB and ESCB. The 3rd stage of EMU was launched following decision of E-XE3068 - Council of the European Union, that the majority of member states had met convergence criteria and fulfilled conditions for adoption of a single currency. This 3rd stage commenced on 1 Jan 1999, with the irrevocable fixing of the exchange rates of the currencies of the participating Member States and when the new European currency - the 'euro' - became effective, and was finalized on 31 Dec 2001. From 1 Jan 2002, banks of countries of the Euro Area (Eurosystem) issue only euro notes and coins. Legal framework for the single monetary policy is the T-XT5765 - Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank.
Primary objective: maintain price stability. Without prejudice to objective price stability: support general economic policies in the European Community; act in accordance with the principle of an open market economy, with free competition, favouring efficient allocation of resources. Basic tasks: define and implement the monetary policy of the Community; conduct foreign exchange operations; hold and manage official foreign reserves of euro area Member States; promote smooth operation of payment systems; contribute to smooth conduct of policies pursued by the competent authorities relating to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and the stability of the financial system.
ESCB comprises E-XF2923 - European Central Bank (ECB) and the National Central Banks (NCBs) of European Union countries. Since the ESCB is an independent system, neither the ECB, nor a NCB, nor any member of their decision-making bodies, may seek or take instructions from any external body when performing ESCB-related tasks.
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