The most significant monetary policy decisions are those relating to key ECB interest rates. The decision-making on interest rates takes place once a month; however, the ECB Governing Council is entitled to pass a related decision at any time, outside the regular meeting schedule including.
The Governing Council usually meets twice a month. At its first meeting each month, which, as a rule, is held on Thursday, the ECB takes its monthly decisions on key interest rates, of which the interest rate on the main refinancing operations is most important. At the same meeting, the Governing Council takes decisions relating to interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility. The short-term money market interest rates closely follow the movements in the ECB interest rates. Likewise, the ECB interest rates affect fluctuations in the interest rates on interbank overnight transactions.
The first meeting of the month is followed by a press conference, during which the ECB President explains the monetary policy decision taken on interest rates by the ECB Governing Council. The introductory statement of the conference provides a comprehensive summary of the factors underlying the Council decision. After the introductory statement, the ECB President answers questions about monetary policy.