The European Central Bank (ECB) opened its doors in 1998 and immediately became the second most powerful central bank in the world (after the US Federal Reserve). The ECB emerged from the post-global financial crisis era as a major actor in international affairs and a key player in EU policymaking. It has built upon its solid reputation for technocratic competence and has seen its authority expand into financial supervision and advising governments on economic reforms, arguably becoming a political actor in the process. ECB President Mario Draghi has been credited with single-handedly ending the euro area crisis in the summer of 2012 by vowing to do “whatever it takes” to save the single currency (Draghi 2012a). But with a higher profile came additional responsibilities that potentially impinge upon its primary (treaty-mandated) task of pursuing price stability.
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