The Governing Council comprises the members of the Executive Board and the Governors of the national central banks (NCBs) participating in the euro area. It is the primary decision-making body of the ECB.
Role of the Governing Council
The Governing Council formulates monetary policy in the euro area free from political interference and is required to represent the interests of the euro area as a whole. As members of the Governing Council, meeting on a fortnightly basis, Governors of NCBs play a crucial role in decisions relating to monetary policy for the euro area. This supranational responsibility is underlined by voting rules of the Council whereby each member has one vote. The Statute provides that the Council acts with a simple majority of votes on major policy issues. In practice a vote may not be taken.
Role of Governors on the Governing Council
Although Governors are appointed in their personal capacities to the Governing Council, they are all still the chairpersons of the NCBs. In the performance of their duties on the Governing Council, Governors use the expertise residing in their NCBs in the formulation of monetary policy. They take advice, but not instructions, with the result that the NCBs perform an important advisory role within the Eurosystem.
NCBs have a substantial legacy of experience in the formulation and implementation of monetary policy. In the Central Bank of Ireland, the Governor is advised and provided with a full brief on all the issues arising at Governing Council meetings and is accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Central Banking at the Governing Council meetings.