European Central Bank (ECB)

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Definition of 'European Central Bank (ECB)'

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the euro and of the eurozone, which consists of 19 of the 27 member states of the European Union. The bank was established by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) in 1992, and began operating in 1998. The ECB is responsible for monetary policy in the eurozone, and is tasked with maintaining price stability. The bank is also responsible for issuing euro banknotes and coins, and for managing the foreign exchange reserves of the eurozone.

The ECB is governed by a Governing Council, which is composed of the ECB President, the Vice-President, and the governors of the national central banks of the eurozone. The Governing Council is responsible for setting monetary policy, and for making decisions on the issuance of euro banknotes and coins.

The ECB has a number of functions, including:

* Setting monetary policy for the eurozone.
* Issuing euro banknotes and coins.
* Managing the foreign exchange reserves of the eurozone.
* Providing liquidity to the banking system.
* Supervising the financial system.

The ECB is an independent institution, and is not subject to the control of any government or political body. The bank's independence is essential to its ability to conduct monetary policy effectively.

The ECB has been a controversial institution since its inception. Some critics argue that the bank is too powerful, and that it has not done enough to prevent the eurozone financial crisis. Others argue that the bank is not independent enough, and that it is too closely aligned with the interests of the financial sector.

Despite the controversy, the ECB has played a key role in the development of the eurozone. The bank has helped to maintain price stability in the eurozone, and has played a role in promoting economic growth. The ECB is likely to continue to play an important role in the eurozone in the years to come.

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