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Euro Zone Terms

A designation of the IMF, European Commission and the ECB. They work together to approve bailout payments to indebted euro-zone countries and evaluate the progress of these recipient countries’ in implementing austerity measures.

EFSF – European Financial Stability Fund
A temporary bailout fund set up by the European Union to provide support towards governments requiring assistance. It is backed by guarantees by euro-zone governments.

ESM – European Stability Mechanism
A permanent bailout fund that will come into effect in July 2012.

Proposed financial instruments where euro-zone countries would jointly issue bonds and share the liability. This would hypothetically lower borrowing costs for many troubled governments although the idea is strongly opposed by Germany. As of May 2012 the proposal has not been approved.

LTRO – Longer-Term Refinancing Operation
Loans offered to European banks by the ECB at a rate of 1% for 3 years. These are not available all the time, only when the ECB deems necessary and opens the window.