The European Central Bank (ECB) has a very clear and limited mandate, given by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which is to maintain price stability in the euro area. The Treaty establishes the independence of the ECB by prohibiting it from seeking or taking instructions from EU institutions or bodies, from any government of an EU Member State, or from any other body. These requirements are set out in Article 130 of the Treaty and ensure that the principle of central bank independence is respected and there is no influence on the members of ECB’s decision-making bodies. Clearly, therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to make submissions such as the Deputy suggests.
While the ECB is independent in carrying out its mandate and tasks, it is not unaccountable. As a European institution, the ECB is accountable in the first instance to the European Parliament. The President of the ECB regularly reports on the ECB's monetary policy and its other tasks at his hearings before the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. In addition, the ECB replies to written questions from MEPs, which are published with the ECB's answers in the Official Journal of the EU and on the ECB's website.
The Central Bank of Ireland is part of the Eurosystem, which consists of the ECB and the National Central Banks of the nineteen Member States that have adopted the euro. The Central Bank contributes to the formulation of monetary policy at Eurosystem level, and further details of this are set out in the Bank’s Annual Report.
Aside from issues of monetary policy, the Deputy might also consider the role of fiscal policy at the broader European level. The Commission is currently reviewing the fiscal rules and framework, and many of these issues were discussed at the recent Ecofin meeting. There is a general acceptance that the current framework can be improved and the recent report by the European Fiscal Board contained a number of interesting suggestions.