The European Central Bank (ECB) was established in 1998 by the Treaty on European Union with the aim to operate within the "European System of Central Banks" (ESCB) which includes all Member States’ central banks.
The ECB is crucial for the implementation of the Union’s monetary policy and for the safeguard of the Euro, in the best interest of the nineteen Member States that adopted this currency. These countries constitute collectively the Eurozone and their central banks, together with the ECB, form the so-called «Eurosystem».
The ECB is based in Frankfurt and has three decision-making bodies:
- The Governing Council, which includes the six members of the Executive Board and the governors of the national central banks from the Eurozone countries;
- The Executive Board, which includes the ECB president and vice-president plus four other members, all appointed for a non-renewable eight-year period by the Heads of State or Government of the Eurozone countries;
- The General Council, composed of the ECB president and vice-president plus the governors of the central banks from all EU countries.
Since November 1st 2019, Christine Lagarde, France, is President of the European Central Bank. President Lagarde succeeds Mario Draghi, Italy, in charge from November 1st 2011 to October 31st 2019.