The European Central Bank (ECB) is one of the institutions of the European Union. Established on 1 June 1998 under the Treaty of the European Union, it started operating on 1 January 1999. The ECB is responsible for managing the Euro, the single currency adopted by some of the EU member states. Since its establishment, the ECB is responsible for regulating the supply of money circulating among the countries that adopt the Euro and ensure the maintenance of price stability. To obtain these results, it sets the interest rate with which it lends money to national banks: thus it establishes the percentage of the interest on the loan. It also manages the foreign exchange reserves: it buys or sells according to the need to maintain a balanced currency exchange rate. The ECB has adopted a series of monetary policies to maintain price stability, operating on the inflation rate over the medium term, set at a level close to 2%. It then operates a series of checks on the national central banks, with which it collaborates, to ensure accounts’ stability and to authorize the issuance of banknotes.
The European Central Bank is an independent institution that has its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. At the head of the ECB is the President or Governor. The decision-making bodies are three: the Executive Committee, made of six members and chaired by the President, who coordinates the daily management; the Governing Council, made of the members of the Executive committee plus the governors of the national central banks, which sets monetary policy and sets interest rates for loans to banks; The General Council, made of the President, the Vice President and the governors of the national central banks, which has an advisory and coordination role for those states that want to adopt the Euro. One of the extraordinary instruments adopted by the European Central Bank to influence the European economic situation is the quantitative easing plan, that means buying government bonds from banks in order to increase the supply of money. On March 9, 2015, President Mario Draghi announced the first purchase plan of 1,100 billion euro for a period of about a year. Thanks to the establishment of the European Central Bank, the States that adopt the Euro can coexist in a common market.