Delving into the euro: What is the Eurogroup?

Julie Brownlee, Fsp Invest, 31 Jul. 2015

Tags: eurogroup, what is the eurogroup, euro, role of the eurogroup, european monetary policy,

If you’re interested in currencies or kept up to date with the Greek debt crisis, you may have come across reference to the Eurogroup.

So what is the Eurogroup? And what does it do?

Read on to find out…

What is the Eurogroup?

The Eurogroup is a monthly meeting for the finance ministers of countries that use the euro as their currency.

The monthly meetings allow these member countries to discuss political matters that have a bearing on the running of the European monetary union and the euro.

The Eurogroup doesn’t make decisions about monetary policy, the experts at Money Week explain. This is the job of the European Central Bank.

Which countries are part of the Eurogroup?

At the moment there are 19 members of the Eurogroup. The most recent addition to the group is Lithuania. The country adopted the euro as its currency on 1 January this year,

Countries that don’t use the euro as their main currency can’t attend the meetings. Occasionally some other bodies get to attend the meeting. For example, officials from the International Monetary Fund.

The Eurogroup meetings are informal affairs. The Eurogroup held its first meeting on 4 June 1998, but it didn’t become a legal entity until 2009. This happened after the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the Eurogroup plays no formal role in decision making, yet the group played a key role in the recent Greek debt crisis.

This led to criticism about the lack of transparency and accountability the group has. This is because any decisions the Eurogroup makes are publicised through statements, yet discussions are private. For instance, the Eurogroup doesn’t publish minutes of its meetings.

So there you have it. What the Eurogroup is.

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