The ESM has a robust governance framework in place which ensures strong accountability and transparency vis-à-vis both the ESM shareholders and other stakeholders.
ESM Governance structure and shareholder engagement
The ESM governing bodies are the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors. The Managing Director is appointed by the Board of Governors and conducts the current business of the ESM under the direction of the Board of Directors. In line with best practices the Managing Director publishes a declaration of financial interests on the ESM website.
Furthermore, the ESM has in place three layers of audit oversight to ensure the accountability of the ESM. These are provided by the independent Board of Auditors which is appointed by the Board of Governors, as well as the internal audit function and the external auditor.
Furthermore, the ESM strives to maintain strong and effective shareholder relations by actively participating in the various political fora where its shareholders are represented and by hosting an annual Shareholders' Day during which the ESM welcomes representatives from the finance ministries of all ESM Members.
Transparency and accountability
The ESM has in place several measures to ensure that all stakeholders and the general public have a good understanding of the ESM mandate, its work, and decision-making processes.
The ESM Governors are the finance ministers of the euro area countries. As members of the national governments, they are accountable to the national parliaments of the ESM Members. Furthermore, some ESM Members conduct national parliamentary procedures in the context of the approval of important ESM decisions. In addition, the ESM Managing Director is also periodically invited by national parliaments to provide updates on the ESM activities.
The Managing Director presents to the European Parliament on a voluntary basis important developments concerning ESM activities and the euro area.
Transparency for programme-related decisions
The ESM regularly publishes on its website programme-related Board of Governors’ and Board of Directors’ meeting documents such as annotated agendas, summaries of decisions, and background documents.
Communication with the investor community
Transparency has been a crucial element to the ESM funding strategy. The ESM Funding and Investors Relations team builds a long-term relationship with investors to understand the way they work and better respond to their investment requirements. A quarterly newsletter is sent to the bond market community, which states the annual funding target, as well as the amount of funding to be raised, for the quarter to come. It also provides the dates of the bill auctions for the upcoming quarter and the potential weeks when the ESM and EFSF may issue bonds. This information is available in the Investor Relations section of the ESM website.
Engagement with civil society organisations
The ESM also engages with civil society organisations. For example, in 2017 Transparency International representatives conducted interviews with the Managing Director and senior staff at the ESM premises. Please find a link to Transparency International’s report on the ESM “From Crisis to Stability”.
Dialogue with the media
The Managing Director and senior management give frequent interviews, presentations, and speeches. These activities are shared with the public through the ESM’s Twitter account and transcripts are made available on the ESM website.
Engagement with the public
The ESM welcomes visitor groups to learn about the ESM and its activities. Each year, hundreds of citizens come from Europe, Asia, and the United States to learn about the ESM’s general and programme-related activities. Professional experts give presentations and engage with staff on specialised legal, economic, and risk-related issues.
The ESM publishes an annual report, as well as two professional paper series. The Working Paper series showcases the ESM’s expertise in the economic and banking areas, while the Discussion Papers seek to spur debate around issues related to the ESM’s mandate.
The ESM procures, supplies, services and works in accordance with the highest standards of integrity, ethical and professional conduct, and in compliance with the applicable ESM policies and procedures, including the Code of Conduct. When conducting an ESM procurement procedure, the ESM respects the general principles of transparency, proportionality, equal treatment and non-discrimination. The ESM's Procurement Review Procedure includes the possibility of filing requests for review by unsuccessful candidates.