Euro Zone Bailout Fund Has Done Well, Might Still Improve, Evaluation Shows

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The euro zone bailout fund has served its main purpose of safeguarding financial stability in the euro zone, but its operations could be improved, a report by an independent evaluator showed on Thursday. The report, the first assessment of the functioning of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and its successor, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), was commissioned last year by the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. "The EFSF/ESM fulfilled their mandate of safeguarding financial stability in the euro area and its members, with support from other crisis measures," said the report. Evaluating the bailouts granted by the euro zone to Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus since the sovereign debt crisis in 2010, the report said governments asked for help too late. That made the rescue more costly and led to one country's problems spilling over to another. "Programmes could have been requested earlier," the report said. "The ESM should pre-empt delays in programme requests when problems cannot be effectively solved at national level." Read more. (Subscription required.)