Assistance for euro area countries
To preserve 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.
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 stabilisation mechanism (EFSM), allows the European Commission to borrow up to €60 billion on the market under the implicit guarantee of the EU budget, to lend to any EU country in need.
Euro area countries under European financial stability facility (EFSF) or ESM programmes, and in compliance with them, may also benefit from the outright monetary transactions programme of the European Central Bank, if this is necessary from a monetary policy perspective.
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.
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.
EU countries are also eligible to seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund.