EU Member States that have introduced the euro have transferred the authority to conduct monetary policy to a new institution. A principle of centralised decision-making and decentralised implementation via national central banks applies to defining and implementing single monetary policy.
The European Central Bank
(hereinafter: the ECB
) was established by the Statute of the ESCB and of the ECB on 1 June 1998 with its registered office in Frankfurt, along the Main river. The ECB is the main body responsible for the euro area's single monetary policy. The euro area
comprises the EU Member States that have introduced the euro. It came into existence when the national central banks of 11 EU Member States transferred responsibility for monetary policy to the ECB on 1 January 1999. Greece joined the euro area in 2001, Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015. Member States must fulfil convergence criteria
before introducing the euro.
As not all EU Member States have adopted the euro, the ECB and national central banks of those EU Member States that have adopted the euro are referred to as the Eurosystem. Since 1 January 1999 the Eurosystem has been responsible for defining and implementing the euro area's single monetary policy. The Bank of Slovenia became a part of the Eurosystem on the day the euro was introduced as the currency of the Republic of Slovenia (1 January 2007).
The European System of Central Banks (the ESCB) comprises the ECB and national central banks of all EU Member States. The national central banks of those EU Member States that have not adopted the euro are part of the ESCB and have a special status within the system. They may still conduct their own monetary policy and do not participate in the decision-making process or the implementation of the single monetary policy.