Yves Mersch: International trends in central bank independence - the European Central Bank's perspective

Remarks by Mr Yves Mersch, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank and Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, at the Roundtable Discussion on Central Bank Independence, Frankfurt am Main, 12 November 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
12 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen,

The topic of central bank independence has received renewed attention in recent years.

Today, I will present the institutional set-up that underpins central bank independence in Europe, as well as accountability and transparency, since these things go hand in hand.

Central bank independence in the European System of Central Banks

I will start with the principles of independence and accountability that apply in the central banking context - which we have to differentiate from the supervisory one.

The legal foundation of central bank independence, which applies to both the ECB and the national central banks (NCBs), is established at the highest possible level in European law. It is enshrined in primary law, in the form of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and of the ECB. Since primary EU law can only be modified with the agreement of all (currently 28) Member States, this independence enjoys quasi-constitutional status.