The Deputy Governor notes that, while there is nowadays a broad consensus that the raison d’être of central banks everywhere is the pursuit of monetary and financial stability, each central bank remains at present unique—in terms of its constitutional position, the range of its activities, its size structure and organisation. The Deputy Governor compares the Bank of England with the central banks of other leading industrial countries—its role in monetary policy, in the management of government debt, in banking supervision, and in the payment system, and also the extent of its branch network. He goes on to look at the recent evolution of central banks in Central and Eastern Europe. Finally, he considers the nature of a future European Central Bank. The Deputy Governor concludes that European central banks are not moving inexorably towards a single format—rather they will continue to evolve in different directions in response to the characteristics of their local habitat. However, as the responsibilities assumed by many have increased, so there is a greater need to display accountability—both to explain the basis of decisions and to account for resources used.