The main financial institutions of the European Union are the following:
The European Central Bank (ECB) founded in 1988 and located inFrankfurt (Germany) is one of the main institutions of the EU. The primary tasks of the ECB are to maintain price stability in the euro zone andthe purchasing power of the euro, also to support economic policies contributing to high level of employment and sustainable growth. The main functions of the ECB are the definition and implementation of monetary policy for the euro area, the conduct of foreign exchange operations, the holding and management of the official foreign reserves of the euro area countries, the promotion of the smooth operation of payment systems. The ECB also has the exclusive right to authorize the issuance of banknotes within the euro area. Together with central banks of all Member States the ECB comprises the European system of central banks and conducts cooperation of central banks of the euro zone countries comprising the Eurosystem.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) was established in Luxembourg in 1994. The EIF is owned by the European Investment Bank (principal shareholder), European Commission and a number of European public and private financial institutions.
The main purpose of the EIF is to support small and medium-sized enterprises by providing risk capital and guaranties. The EIF does not finance the companies directly, but through various financial intermediaries – financial institutions, banks, private equity funds etc. The EIF carries out its activities in the EU Member States, in EU candidate and potential candidate countries and in the European Free Trade Association member countries.