Economic Stabilisation Fund (ESF)

The Economic Stabilisation Fund (ESF; in German: Wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds, WSF) was created by law in March 2020 to address the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the national economy. From November 2022 to the end of 2023, the ESF also financed measures to mitigate the consequences of the energy crisis.


The ESF, which was established in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, serves to stabilise companies in the real economy by overcoming liquidity bottlenecks and by creating the framework conditions for strengthening the capital base of companies whose continued existence would have a significant impact on the economy, the technological sovereignty, the security of supply, the critical infrastructure or the labour market in Germany. The Economic Stabilisation Fund Act (StFG) forms the legal basis for the granting of corresponding ESF measures.

Companies in the real economy that met two of the following three criteria in the last two financial years already closed on the balance sheet before 1 January 2020 were eligible to apply:

  1. balance sheet total of more than € 43 mn,
  2. more than € 50 mn in sales revenue and
  3. more than 249 employees on an annual average

The fund was originally endowed with a total volume of € 600 bn. On 1 January 2022, this total volume was adjusted to € 250 bn, meaning that it was ultimately designed with a volume of up to €100 bn for guarantees, € 50 bn for recapitalisations and € 100 bn for the refinancing of special programmes of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The granting of ESF stabilisation measures was possible until 30 June 2022. Since then, new measures can no longer be granted. Recapitalisation measures (including subordinated loans, silent participations and convertible bonds) totalling € 9.6 bn were approved. No guarantees were issued. Stabilisation measures must be terminated no later than ten years after they are granted, whereby most measures were granted for a term of six to seven years. Thanks to the ESF measures, a number of companies were stabilised. Contagion effects on suppliers and customers were avoided, which helped to preserve jobs in particular.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the ESF was able to grant KfW loans to refinance the special programmes allocated to it by the Federal Government in accordance with Section 23 (1) StFG.

The ESF is a special fund of the Federal Government within the meaning of Article 110 (1) of the Basic Law. The ESF is administered by the Federal Republic of Germany - Finance Agency. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance, it also oversees the stabilisation measures granted by the ESF in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of the energy crisis, the Federal government assigned the ESF another function in November 2022, so that it also served to finance measures to mitigate the consequences of the energy crisis. This financing option was available until the end of 2023.