Orientations in the ECB Governing Council
When the Governing Council of the ECB convened for its first meeting in Frankfurt on 9 June 1998, the assumption of monetary policy responsibility for the euro still seemed such a distant prospect, and yet the calendar showed it to be so close at hand. As was to be expected, and out of sheer necessity, the first few meetings were dominated by organisational and technical matters such as procedural rules, budget issues or the conditions of employment for the ECB's staff.
In developing the policy instruments as part of the monetary policy preparations, consideration also had to be given to their organisational and legal framework. For the difficult task of producing macroeconomic projections for the future euro area, the groundwork had to be laid for efficient cooperation between the ECB and the national central banks.
Inevitably, little time remained to discuss the economic situation. Moreover, a lot of what the national central bank governors had to say was, understandably, still focused on the specific situation in the individual countries. The national institutions, after all, continued to bear responsibility for the national currencies. However, the Governing Council could not possibly wait for the start of monetary union to direct its attention towards the euro area as a whole.