The European Commission can borrow from the international capital markets on behalf of the EU. It has four EU loan programmes to raise funds and pay for financial assistance to countries experiencing financial difficulties:
- Balance of payments assistance
- European Financial Stability Mechanism
- Macro-Financial assistance to non-EU partner countries
The funds are raised by issuing bonds on international markets on behalf of the EU. The Commission then lends this money to the country in need at exactly the same interest rate. This allows the countries receiving assistance to benefit from the low rates available to the EU as a top-rated borrower.