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Financial Assistance for the Euro Countries and Germany’s Liability

Over the course of the government debt crisis five countries in the euro currency area have claimed international financial assistance: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.

This financial aid was provided via the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (for the first and second bail-out package for Greece, as well as for Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus), the euro countries (in the form of bilateral loans as part of the first bail-out package for Greece), as well as via three European financial assistance instruments. These instruments are the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) as the EU-Community instrument, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) supported by the euro countries; and lastly, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) funded by the euro countries. The EFSM (it provided assistance to Ireland, Portugal and – temporarily – to Greece) and the EFSF (it supported Ireland, Portugal and Greece too as part of the second bail-out package) were only used temporarily and were succeeded by the ESM, a permanent bail-out mechanism, which has granted credit to Spain, Cyprus and Greece (third bail-out package) to date.

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