Published: 05.12.2013 Updated: 28.03.2018

The Governing Council of the ECB takes monetary policy decisions of the Eurosystem. The Governing Council consists of the governors of the national central banks of all euro area countries and the six members of the Executive Board of the ECB. The members of the Governing Council are independent in their stances and voting. The objective of the Governing Council is to act in the interest of the euro area as a whole.

The Governing Council usually meets twice a month. The most significant monetary policy decisions are those relating to the key interest rates and the introduction and expansion of non-standard monetary policy measures. The decision-making on the interest rates takes place every six weeks when the Governing Council assesses economic and monetary developments and takes monetary policy decisions; however, the Governing Council is entitled to pass a related decision at any time, outside the regular meeting schedule.

Of the key interest rates, the interest rate on the main refinancing operations is the most important one. At the same meeting, the Governing Council also takes decisions relating to the 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 monetary policy decision is explained at a press conference chaired by the President and held every six weeks. In addition, the ECB publishes regular accounts of the Governing Council’s monetary policy meetings.