SURE is the EU programme to finance short-term employment schemes across the EU and keep people in jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

To finance SURE, the Commission is issuing up to €100 billion of social bonds. This has turned the Commission – on behalf of the EU – in the world’s biggest social bond issuer.

The funds raised are being provided to EU Member States in back-to-back funding. EU countries have used the funds to finance different short-time work schemes, and other similar measures to preserve employment and support incomes.

SURE social bonds

The Commission started issuing social bonds in October 2020, following the adoption of an independently evaluated Social Bond Framework. The framework is compliant with the Social Bond Principles of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).

The first SURE transaction was record-breaking – it attracted an order book of €233 billion, the largest order book for any deal in the history of global bond markets.

Between October 2020 and May 2021, the Commission issued a total of €89.64 billion of social bonds in seven issuances. SURE has thus become the world’s largest social bond scheme.

The Commission intends to issue a further €4.6 billion in 2022 to address Member States’ requests to date. EU countries can still submit requests to receive financial support under SURE up to the total limit of €100 billion.

EU SURE disbursements

The European Commission has so far disbursed nearly €90 billion under SURE, to the benefit of 19 EU Member States. A detailed overview is available here:

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SURE reporting

The Commission reports twice a year on a results achieved thanks to SURE.

The first report was published on 22 March 2021. It confirmed that the instrument supported between 25 and 30 million people in 2020. SURE helped between 1.5 and 2.5 million firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to SURE, Member States saved an estimated €5.8 billion in interest payments.

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The second report – published on 22 September 2021 – confirmed that SURE supported approximately 31 million people in 2020, with more than a quarter of these employed in the 19 beneficiary countries. SURE helped around 2.5 million firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and enabled EU countries to save an estimated €8.2 billion in interest payments.

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The third and latest report – published on 24 March 2022 – confirmed that SURE has been successful in cushioning the impact of the pandemic and continued to protect employment during the recovery in 2021, supporting approximately 3 million people and over 400,000 firms.

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All documents linked to the EU SURE Social Bond Framework are available in the documents' section of our website.


For further information, check the dedicated Q&A documents.