DOI: 10.1177/1023263x231224714 ISSN: 1023-263X

The accountability of the European Central Bank: New frontiers, new challenges

Menelaos Markakis, Diane Fromage
  • Law
  • Political Science and International Relations

Over the years, the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken on new tasks in response to fresh challenges, and its mandate has been interpreted in novel ways. This broader role for the ECB – whether it translates into a novel interpretation of its mandate, the creation of a new form of public money, more complex and discretionary decision-making, or the conferral of new tasks – has brought greater scrutiny onto the ECB. This introduction and the contributions to this special issue focus squarely on the “new” or “modern” ECB. They examine its accountability across the range of tasks that it nowadays carries out, including its interinstitutional relationships with other actors in this area. Although the ECB has assumed a broader role than the one envisaged at the time of its creation, its accountability framework, which is by and large hardwired into the Treaties, has remained unchanged. It is argued that the expansion of the ECB’s role and tasks must be accompanied by robust accountability and transparency arrangements. As the ECB pushes new frontiers in the future, those options to enhance accountability, transparency and legitimacy which are available within the existing Treaty framework should be pursued. This would also ensure that the ECB and other relevant authorities go far enough in meeting their objectives.