(1) Monetary Union v. Economic Union
Does EMU mean “European Monetary Union” or “Economic and Monetary Union”? The relationship between the Monetary Union and the Economic one is asymmetrical. According to the EC Treaty, the Monetary Union means the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) which is the one single decision-making centre in the monetary field. On the other hand, in the Economic Union, the ultimate decision in the fiscal and budgetary field remains in the hands of the Member States and they monitor their economic policies mutually in the Econmics and Finance Council (ECOFIN) through the multilateral monitoring procedure and the excessive deficit procedure, reinforced by the Stability and Growth Pact.
(2) ECB v. ECOFIN
The foreign exchange rate policy belongs exlcusively to EMU. Article 111 [ex. 109] (1) stipulates that ECOFIN has the power to conclude formal agreements on an exchange rate system for the Euro in relation to non-Community currencies. However, under the floating exchange rate system, ECOFIN may only formulate “general orientations” for the exchange rate policy to those currencies. It means that the primary objective of ESCB to maintain price stability has priority over “genaral orientations”, which seem not to be legally binding.
(3) “Ins” v. “Outs”
Even the non-participating Member States in the Euro participate partially in ESCB, because these countries are members of the General Council, and they have the obligation to achieve the independence of each national central bank (NCB), with the exception of the UK.
(4) ECB v. NCBs
ECB decides monetary policies and NCBs implement them. This reflects centralisation. But the other elements indicate that ESCB has a decentralised structure. First of all, the govenors of NCBs are members of the Governing Council, in which each of them has one vote, in addtion to the members of the Executive Board, and decision-making is in principle by simple majority. Secondly, NCBs may perform functions other than those in the ESCB Statute in so far as they interfere with the objectives and tasks of ESCB.