I should like to conclude my presentation today by briefly discussing about the euro area equity markets as seen from the perspective of the Eurosystem. It is clear that the Eurosystem has no direct control or influence over the development of equity markets. However, the Eurosystem acknowledges the importance of well-functioning and efficient equity markets for the economy as a means of mobilising savings into productive investment. Hence, efficient equity markets with transparent price formation, high market liquidity and low transaction costs are of great value in the capital formation process.
However, the success of the euro is not only in the hands of central bankers and policy-makers. An important area in which the private sector has an instrumental role in meeting the challenge of pushing the boundaries is in the development of the European financial markets. In order for the euro to be a success, it is important for the euro area financial markets to become wider, deeper and more diversified. The introduction of the euro has provided further input into this process; the elimination of exchange rate risks has removed one of the main barriers to financial market integration in Europe.
Following the elimination of the barriers implied by different currencies, it is now up to the European Commission and the relevant national authorities to further the integration process in the areas of regulation and taxation. Meanwhile, it is up to market participants to take advantage of the business opportunities implied by the increased scope for market integration.
Fourth, the Eurosystem's monetary policy is implemented in a marketed-oriented manner. The Eurosystem's key policy instrument is its weekly tender for two-week repo operations, the so-called main refinancing operations. The features of the monetary policy operations are decided by the decision-making bodies of the ECB, but the operations are conducted in a decentralised manner by the NCBs.