The Governing Council meets twice a month ( Calendar). At its first meeting, as a rule, the Governing Council assesses the economic situation and the stance of the monetary policy. Decisions on the key interest rates are normally taken during that meeting.
At its second meeting, the Governing Council focuses mainly on issues related to other tasks and responsibilities of the ECB and the Eurosystem.
The Governing Council of the ECB sets the key interest rates. The rates determine the stance of the ECB's monetary policy.
The key interest rates for the euro area set by the Governing Council are:
Since the intensification of the financial crisis in September 2008, the ECB has introduced a number of non-standard monetary policy measures that are unprecedented in nature, scope and magnitude with the aim to safeguard an appropriate monetary policy transmission mechanism (for Enhanced Credit Support see Monthly Bulletin, June 2009, p.9-10 and for the Securities Markets Programme see Monthly Bulletin, May 2010, Editorial - Box 1: Additional measures decided by the Governing Council and September 2011 Monthly Bulletin, Box 5, for December 2011 measures see Monthly Bulletin, January 2012 Box 4, Monthly Bulletin, February 2012, Box 2, and Monthly Bulletin, March 2012, Box 3, for Outright Monetary Transactions see the press release of 6 September 2012, and Monthly Bulletin, October 2012, Box 1.
After the first meeting of the month, a press release announcing the decision on the key ECB interest rates is issued at 1.45 p.m. C.E.T.
Shortly afterwards, at 2.30 p.m. C.E.T. , the President and the Vice-President of the ECB hold a press conference.
The conference starts with an introductory statement by the President. It provides a comprehensive summary of the assessment of economic and monetary developments and explains the monetary policy decision taken by the Governing Council.
After the introductory statement, the President and the Vice-President answer journalists' questions. This provides a platform for the timely explanation of monetary policy decisions to the public. A transcript of the questions and answers is placed on this website a few hours later.