EU borrowing rules

The EU has about €52 billion in outstanding debt instruments. It has a liquid yield curve (a line that plots the interest rates of its bonds across different maturities) consisting of 18 benchmark issues (outstanding over EUR 1 billion) plus a EUR 600 million "mini-benchmark" maturing in 2020.

  • EU borrowing is only permitted to finance loans to countries. The EU cannot borrow to finance its budget.
  • Amounts vary from small private placements of several million euros to benchmark-size issues (at least EUR 1 billion).
  • Funds raised are lent to countries under almost exactly the same terms (same coupon, maturity and for the same nominal amount). The debt service of the bonds, however, remains the obligation of the EU, which ensures that all payments are made in a timely manner.
  • The timing, volume and maturity of issuances are determined by the EU’s lending activities.
  • Funding is exclusively denominated in euro.
  • The maturity spectrum of newly issued bonds is 3 to 30 years and outstanding maturities are up to the year 2042.
  • The EU issues bonds under the EUR 80 billion EU and Euratom medium-term note programme (EMTN). Alternatively, for private placements, German loan documentation (‘Schuldschein’) is also available.

Investor presentation

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Press releases on recent bond issues

Commission press releases

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