From May 17 to 21, 2021, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) offered—for the first time—a seminar exclusively addressed to colleagues from the central banking community, titled Euro Area Integration and Accession: Institutional Challenges and Governance Issues for Central Bankers. In particular, the 22 participants had registered from central banks of EU member countries outside the euro area, EU candidate and potential candidate countries.
The seminar, which had an entirely new curriculum, aimed to address relevant aspects of institutional change in central banks in the run up to EU and later to euro area membership, including new or changing tasks as regards international fora (ECB Governing Council/General Council, IMF), dealing with new requirements for document management, including compliance with ESCB confidentiality regulations.
The course started out with a presentation of central banks’ involvement in the EU negotiation process. This was followed by an overview of aligning national central bank laws to EU Treaty requirements, comparing different country cases, with a particular focus on central bank independence, drawing on Austria’s experience. Furthermore, it included an ECB presentation on their recent work in this field. Moreover, the course covered political and procedural issues related to ERM II and euro area accession, as well as central bank accountability and transparency, comparing international case studies.
The course had a particular focus on central bank decision-making processes, including an interactive workshop (group work) for the participants in order to compare the respective decision-making processes in their central banks.
Another module covered efforts to strengthen the international role of the euro, with an ECB presentation on its recently published flagship report. Furthermore, the issue of digital central bank currencies was presented. The final module of the course was devoted to IMF-related issues relevant to central banks, such as coordination of IMF issues and positions at EU level, IMF surveillance as well as IMF resources from the perspective of an EU and euro area central bank.
Due to the pandemic, this very first edition of the event could not be held at the JVI headquarters in Vienna but had to be delivered virtually. Nevertheless, due to the outstanding technical support from the JVI staff before and during the event, the one-week course received excellent evaluations from the participants and proved us right in designing a course “from central bankers for central bankers.” The course will be repeated in 2022, and this time—hopefully—be held physically at the JVI in Vienna in order to benefit from the JVI biggest asset—providing the platform for professionals to exchange their views and to make new friends, while enjoying the perfect hospitality of Vienna.
Thomas Gruber and Sandra Dvorsky, Oesterreichische Nationalbank