Dr. Phoebus Athanassiou



Dr. Phoebus Athanassiou is Senior Lead Legal Counsel with the Directorate General Legal Services of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Special interests

Dr. Athanassiou specialises in European Union, Greek and Cypriot financial law. He has published extensively on financial services, capital markets, securities regulation, and institutional issues of relevance to the ECB and Economic and Monetary Union. He is a Member of the Editorial Board of the ECB Legal Working Papers Series and of the International In-house Counsel Journal, and regularly acts as referee for a number of English language legal journals. In the course of his career in the Legal Services of the ECB he has covered a wide variety of topics, with an emphasis on the legal aspects of the implementation of the single monetary policy, the Eurosystem collateral framework, financial crisis-related work and more recently, payments and securities settlement.


Dr. Athanassiou holds law degrees from Queen Mary College, London (LL.B., 1998) and King’s College, London (LL.M. 1999) as well as a doctoral degree in law from King’s College, London (Ph.D. 2009). He joined the Legal Services of the ECB in 2004. Prior to joining the ECB, he was in private practice, with the Athens Law Firm of Tsibanoulis & Partners, inter alia acting as consultant to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the transposition of the acquis in the fields of securities, banking and insurance law.


Books & edited works

  • The European Sovereign Debt Crisis: Breaking the Vicious Circle Between Sovereigns and Banks (Routledge, 2021) [with A. Vouldis]
  • 'Payment Systems' in Amtenbrink and Herrmann (eds), The EU Law of Economic and Monetary Union (Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • Digital Innovation in Financial Services - Legal Challenges and Regulatory Policy Issues (Kluwer, 2018)
  • ‘The European Central Bank’ in Schütze and Tridimas (eds.) Oxford Principles of European Union Law, Volume 1: The European Union Legal Order (Oxford University Press, 2018) [with C. Zilioli]
  • Research Handbook on Hedge Funds, Private Equity and Alternative Investments (Edward Elgar, 2012; paperback edition: August 2013)
  • Hedge Fund Regulation in the EU: Current Trends and Future Prospects (Kluwer, 2009)

Selected articles & working papers 

  • ‘Central Bank Money as a Liability of Its Issuer and the Case of Central Bank Digital Currencies’ (2023) 48 (2) European law Review, 232-242
  • ‘The Trouble with E-money – Reflections on the Evolution and Future of the EU Legal Framework on E-Money Institutions’, (2023) 38 (2) Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation, 51-56
  • 'A European Resolution Regime for Central Securities Depositories? Some Reflections', (2022) 33(5) European Business Law Review
  • ‘The European Commission’s Digital Finance Package from the perspective of private law’, (2021) Vol. 36 Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law
  • 'The Coronavirus outbreak and the case for centrally issued digital cash', (2020) Vol. 35 Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law
  • 'Towards a more integrated primary issuance market for securities in the EU: Legal and policy issues', (2020) Vol. 26 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
  • 'New Forms of Money for the 21st Century and the Legacy of France’s Assignat Experiment', (2020) Vol. 14 Law and Financial Markets Review
  • 'Cryptocurrencies and their use as loan collateral: core legal considerations' (2019) 34 (6)  Butterworth’s Journal of International Banking and Financial Law 394-397
  • 'Tokens and the Regulation of Distributed Ledger Technologies: Where Europe Stood in the Last Quarter of 2018' (2019) 34 (3) Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation 105-115
  • 'T2 Balances: A Legal Perspective' (2018) 16 (3) ifo DICE Report 35-40
  • Impact of digital innovation on the processing of electronic payments for retail transactions - an overview of legal risks and prospects’ (ECB Legal Working Papers Series, 2017)
  • ‘Non-contractual liability under the Single Supervisory Mechanism: Key Features and Grey Areas’, Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation (2015) 30 (7)
  • ‘Are bank deposits investments? A legal and economic analysis’, Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation (2014) 29 (12)
  • ‘Reflections on the modalities for the appointment of the NCB Governors’, European Law Review (2014) 39 (1), 27-46
  • ‘The Icesave Ruling: legally justified discriminatory treatment?’ Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law (2013) 28 (3), 141-143
  • ‘Of Past Measures and Future Plans for Europe’s Exit from the Sovereign Debt Crisis: What is Legally Possible and What Not’, (2011) 36(4) European Law Review, 558-575
  • ‘Bank Supervisors’ Liability: a European Perspective’ in Tridimas/Eeckhout (eds.) Yearbook of European Law Vol. 30, No. 1 (2011), 213–254
  • ‘Financial rules: Why they differ, where we got them wrong and how to fix them’, (2010) 4(3) Law and Financial Markets Review, 279-286
  • ‘The Role of Regulation and Supervision in Crisis Prevention and Management: A Critique of Recent European Reflections’ (2009) 24(10) Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation, 501-508
  • ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU: some reflections’, in ECB Legal Working Paper Series, No.10, December 2009
  • ‘T2 Securities: an Overview of the Eurosystem’s Αims and Competence’ (2008) 23(11) Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation, 585-594
  • “When is e-money not E-money? Reflections on the revision of the E-money Directive” in (2006)3-4, Revue Européenne de Droit Bancaire et Financier/ European Banking and Financial Law Journal, 321-357.


Law of Central Banks