Saturday

21st Jan 2017

Eurozone to launch new rescue fund

  • The ESM will move into this building early next year (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday (8 October) will hold the inaugural session of the permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which is to have a firepower of €500bn by next year as countries gradually pay into it..

The fund should have already been operational on 1 July, but constitutional challenges in Germany delayed the launch by three months.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

For now, its headquarters remain within the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a temporary fund set up in 2010 and located in an office building in Luxembourg. Both will move to a bigger nearby location early next year.

Klaus Regling, a German finance official who also worked in the EU commission and is currently in charge of the EFSF, will head up the fund.

But all decisions will be taken by the board of governors, consisting of finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries. The voting system reflects the share of paid-in capital to the fund, meaning that Germany can veto decisions.

Spain meanwhile is still "considering" formally asking for financial assistance in a bid to lower its borrowing costs. This would take the form of bond-buying by both the ESM and the European Central Bank.

The ESM can buy the bonds of a country only if the country signs up to deadlines for reforms. The ECB, unlike the ESM, can buy unlimited amounts of Spanish bonds, but has also warned that if the country does not stick to the promised reforms, it will halt the purchases.

Ministers are also likely to look at the issue of the ESM being used to directly fund ailing banks in the eurozone. A deal in June said that once a eurozone-only banking supervisor is in place, banks can tap the ESM directly. The move is again aimed at lifting the debt and deficit burden off Spain, whose banks are in need of €60bn.

But Germany, the Netherlands and Finland last week said in a joint letter that no 'legacy assets' should be put on the ESM books, meaning that the €60bn would stay on the Spanish government's books.

Talks will also continue on the banking union and the relation of non-eurozone banks to the new supervisory authority within the euro-area.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey