Saturday, 25 October 2008

European Central Bank Ib: European System of Central Banks

The European System of Central Banks (ESCB) is composed of the European Central Bank (ECB) and of the national central banks.


In addition to the provisions in the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), treaty level rules have been set out in a Protocol annexed to the treaty.

Protocol (No 18) on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (1992) defines the Constitution of the ESCB in Chapter 1, Article 1 (as in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/256):

Article 1 ESCB Statute

The European System of Central Banks

1.1. The European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and the European Central Bank (ECB) shall
be established in accordance with Article 8 of this Treaty; they shall perform their tasks and carry
on their activities in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty and of this Statute.

1.2. In accordance with Article 107(1) of this Treaty, the ESCB shall be composed of the ECB
and of the central banks of the Member States (‘national central banks’). The Institut monétaire
luxembourgeois will be the central bank of Luxembourg.


Article 107(1) TEC applies to all member states. Consequently the national central banks of all EU member states form part of the ESCB, together with the ECB.

The term Eurosystem is narrower, in that it is applied to the ECB and the national central banks of the countries that have adopted the euro.


The 27 EU national central banks are the following:

Austria: Oesterreichische Nationalbank
Belgium: Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique
Bulgaria: Bulgarian National Bank
Cyprus: Central Bank of Cyprus
Czech Republic: Česká národní banka
Denmark: Danmarks Nationalbank
Estonia: Eesti Pank
Finland: Suomen Pankki - Finlands Bank
France: Banque de France
Germany: Deutsche Bundesbank
Greece: Bank of Greece
Hungary: Magyar Nemzeti Bank
Ireland: Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland
Italy: Banca d´Italia
Latvia: Latvijas Banka
Lithuania : Lietuvos bankas
Luxembourg : Banque centrale du Luxembourg
Malta: Central Bank of Malta
Netherlands: De Nederlandsche Bank
Poland: Narodowy Bank Polski
Portugal: Banco de Portugal
Romania: Banca Naţională a României
Slovakia: Národná banka Slovenska
Slovenia: Banka Slovenije
Spain: Banco de España
Sweden: Sveriges Riksbank
United Kingdom: Bank of England

Source: European Central Bank (a web page with links to the central banks)


On 1 January 2009 Slovakia will join the Eurosystem, but until the end of the year 15 of the national central banks belong to the euro area and 12 countries are outside the eurozone.

Euroland: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain (15).

Outside the eurozone: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom (12).


Later, we are going to see that the different groups of national central banks have repercussions for the tasks and the decision-making of the ESCB.

The next posts are going to present some reading suggestions for students of history, politics, economics and law, as well as for other interested EU citizens, and to look more closely at the legal framework of the ESCB.

Ralf Grahn