It's been asserted in a couple of answers to another question that Germany (or the EU) has attached serious reform conditions to the ESM loans that Italy is refusing.

What conditions were these? (Please no pure opinion answers, back them up with links/evidence.)

2 Answers 2


I'll add here from the critics' perspective, i.e. of Yanis Varoufakis, who was a finance minister of Greece...

Belatedly, but correctly, they [Italy etc.] demanded a so-called “eurobond”: a common debt instrument that allows total long-term debt to shrink by transferring a portion of it from member states, which have a lot of debt, to the eurozone, which has none.

This debate is now dead in the water, killed off by the Eurogroup’s decision to rely almost entirely on new debts falling squarely on the member states’ weakened shoulders. The only concession to the nine governments suggesting debt-sharing was that the new ESM loans will have no strings attached to them. This is, alas, a red herring as the conditions will come later, once the eurozone’s fiscal rules bite again. The message today to Italians, Spaniards and Greeks is: your government can borrow large amounts from Europe’s bailout fund. No conditions. You will also receive help to pay for unemployment benefits from countries where employment holds up better. But, within a year or two, as your economies are recovering, huge new austerity measures will be demanded to bring your government’s finances back into line, including the repayment of the monies spent on your unemployment benefits. This is equivalent to helping the fallen get up but striking them over the head as they begin to rise.

So, [even] the critics concede that there are no (explicitly onerous) conditions attached to the ESM loans now "on the table", except those that entail from the EU treaties anyway. To critics, this is (of course) no small matter, as they see the EU getting split along debt-load faults (and in their view only jointly issued debt can fix this).

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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica But this supports Fizz's argument that even the critics (Varoufakis is about as critical of EU austerity regulations as they get) don't see particularly harsh conditions on these loans right now.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 7:04
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    I like how you ask for no-opinion answers and then answer yourself with Varoufaki's opinion. Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 16:21
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    @AlbertoSantini: somewhat of a fair point, but I've added this after the official stuff was posted as answer to show that that info is probably not contested in itself (e.g. due to complicated legalese) but rather because critics are worried (i.e. make assumptions/scenarios) regarding its future implications. Also this is a bit of "expert opinion". I was mostly worried I'll get answers with zero links/evidence as that other question got initially, i.e. merely the SE users' opinion not even calling on any experts'. Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 16:43
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    @AlbertoSantini I think this is not an opinion answer; it's the specific answer to the question, really, insomuch as it both says "no conditions" (true) and also points to the "conditions" the italians are complaining about.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 18:46
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    The only thing slightly misleading in Varoufakis' claim is that "in a year or two ... huge new austerity measures will be demanded". Those won't be new demands; the 60% debt to GDP limit has existed since the very start of the Eurozone. Italy has had two decades to bring its debt below 60% to have a buffer for crisis. Its structural failure to act brings consequences now, which cannot be blamed on other countries.
    – MSalters
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 9:02

According to the official Eurogroup press release, the conditions attached to the extra ESM funding under point 16: "Safety nets in the EU and EA" are as follows:

The only requirement to access the credit line will be that euro area Member States requesting support would commit to use this credit line to support domestic financing of direct and indirect healthcare, cure and prevention related costs due to the COVID 19 crisis. The provisions of the ESM Treaty will be followed.

Additionally, the release stipulates that:

Afterwards, euro area Member States would remain committed to strengthen economic and financial fundamentals, consistent with the EU economic and fiscal coordination and surveillance frameworks, including any flexibility applied by the competent EU institutions.

The WSJ reports that this language was a particular demand of the Netherlands.

So the extra money has to be spent on healthcare in the ways specified in the release, and the loans must also follow existing ESM rules. Additionally, as I understand it, member states wishing to take advantage of the extra loan have to commit to the above language reportedly pushed for by the Netherlands.

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