EU borrowing rules

The EU has about EUR 69 billion in outstanding debt instruments, including EUR 17 billion issued under SURE. It has a liquid yield curve (a line that plots the interest rates of its bonds across different maturities) consisting of many benchmark issues (outstanding over EUR 1 billion). In exceptional cases, the EU also issues bonds below EUR 1 billion (either in syndicated format or via a private placements).

  • EU borrowing is only permitted to finance loans to countries under its programmes EFSM, BOP, MFA and the recently adopted SURE instrument.
    As part of its Recovery Plan, the Commission has proposed that it be exceptionally empowered to borrow to raise funds to fund crisis-repair and recovery actions during the immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Amounts vary from small private placements of several million euros to benchmark-size issues (EUR 1-5 billion) and up to EUR 10 billion per maturity under SURE.
  • 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 its EU and Euratom Debt Issuance Programme governed by Luxembourgish law. Alternatively, for private placements, German loan documentation (‘Schuldschein’) is also available.

Investor presentation

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EU SURE disbursements

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Press releases on recent bond issues

Commission press releases

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Commission disburses €8.5 billion under SURE to five Member States (01 December 2020)

Successful third issuance of EU SURE bonds by the European Commission (25 November 2020)

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Commission disburses €14 billion under SURE to nine Member States (17 November 2020)

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EUR 17 billion EU SURE social bond listed on LuxSE (27 October 2020)

European Commission issues first emission of EU SURE social bonds (21 October 2020)

Questions and Answers on the first emission of EU SURE social bonds (21 October 2020)

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