The ESM’s mission is to provide financial assistance to euro area countries experiencing or threatened by severe financing problems. This assistance is granted only if it is proven necessary to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and of ESM Members.
For this, the ESM counts on several instruments. The ESM can grant a loan as part of a macroeconomic adjustment programme, such as the one that was already used by Cyprus and is currently ongoing in Greece. Ireland, Greece, and Portugal have used similar programmes delivered by the EFSF. The only other instrument used was an ESM loan to recapitalise banks which was provided to Spain. See the full ESM toolkit below.