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Economy and Finance

How is financial assistance provided?

This section explains how EU countries can request access to financial assistance mechanisms in order to preserve or restore financial stability. 

EU countries experiencing or threatened by financing difficulties can request access to financial assistance mechanisms. These provide loans that are conditional on the implementation of policies designed to address underlying economic problems.

All EU countries are also eligible to seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

All EU countries can request assistance from the EU through the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM).

Specific assistance for euro area countries

Euro area countries can request assistance from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), an intergovernmental institution based in Luxembourg with a lending capacity of €500 billion.

The European financial stability facility (EFSF) was created in June 2010 as a temporary crisis resolution mechanism for euro area countries. It no longer provides new financing but continues to manage activities linked to its outstanding loans and bonds.

In certain situations, the European Central Bank may decide to further support the secondary bond market of euro area countries under its Outright Monetary Transactions Programme if necessary to safeguard an appropriate monetary policy transmission and the singleness of the monetary policy.

Specific assistance for countries outside the euro area

EU countries outside the euro area experiencing or threatened by difficulties regarding their balance of payments can request balance of payments assistance.