The European Central Bank and the Eurosystem
The European Central Bank, ECB, is the common central bank of the Euro Area member states. The ECB is located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and had approximately 1,550 employees at end-2009.
The national central banks in the Euro Area and the ECB cooperate closely and together they form the Eurosystem. It is responsible for the single monetary policy of the Euro Area member states. As the supreme decision-making body of the ECB, the Governing Council decides the single monetary policy, but it is implemented by the national central banks of the Eurosystem.
The objective of the ECB is to maintain price stability in the Euro Area. This is defined by ECB as a year-on-year inflation rate below but close to 2 pct. on the medium term. The ECB may also support the general economic policies of the Euro Area member states - e.g. to ensure high growth and employment - provided that this does not jeopardise the objective of low inflation. Besides monetary policy, the ECB and the Eurosystem undertake various other typical centralbank tasks. These include compilation of financial statistics and management of foreign-exchange reserves.