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Survey on the access to finance of enterprises

The survey on the access to finance of enterprises (SAFE) provides information on the latest developments in the financial situation of enterprises, and documents trends in the need for and availability of external financing. The survey results are broken down by firm size, branch of economic activity, country, firm age, financial autonomy and ownership.

The survey is conducted twice a year: once by the ECB covering euro area countries (see results below) and once in cooperation with the European Commission covering all EU countries plus some neighbouring countries.

View dates for upcoming releases

Survey results - April/September 2022

Economic activity

Economic activity continued to recover, but rising materials, energy and labour costs weighed on the profitability of euro area firms. A lack of skilled labour and higher input costs were firms’ main concerns.

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Financing conditions

Financing needs increased, but the availability of external funds declined slightly. The net percentage of firms reporting tighter price terms and conditions of bank loans reached historical highs.

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Future expectations

Firms anticipate a further deterioration in the availability of external financing and expect their internal funds to be insufficient to meet future financing needs. Expectations for future turnover remain positive, although less so than in the past.

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For the media

This report presents the main results of the 27th round of the Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE) in the euro area, which was conducted between 7 September and 14 October 2022.

Read the press release

Full report

Find out more about the latest survey responses on economic activity, financing conditions and future expectations regarding enterprises’ access to finance.

Read the report

Analyse the results

Why and how we carry out the survey

The majority of firms in the euro area are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These enterprises account for a major share of euro area turnover and employment.

SMEs are not just “scaled-down” versions of large businesses: it is likely that the monetary policy transmission mechanism is different for SMEs compared with large firms because of SMEs’ higher dependence on financing from banks. The results of this survey are therefore useful to the ECB in its decision-making.

The survey on access to finance of enterprises (SAFE) provides information on the financing conditions faced by SMEs compared with those of large firms during the past six months, in particular regarding:

  • financial situation, growth, innovation and need for external financing
  • use of internal and external funds
  • experience with applications for external financing
  • use of loans, loan size and the reasons for accessing specific loans
  • views on how accessible different types of available financing are
  • expectations on future financing.

Methodological information

Report on and data from the joint European Commission & ECB surveys

As of 2013, the data and report from the joint survey are published every year (previously every two years), covering all EU Member States and a few other countries.

Data for the euro area enterprises

Access to microdata

If you would like to access the anonymised microdata, please fill in and return the confidentiality declaration form to the survey access team via email.

Confidentiality declaration form
SAFE access team

Survey respondents

Twice a year, usually in March and October, we contact thousands of businesses in Europe to ask what financing conditions they are experiencing and how easily they can access finance.

Kantar, a research company, in cooperation with GDCC (Global Data Collection Company), an independent market research firm, carries out this survey on behalf of the ECB and the European Commission. The interviews are conducted over a five-week period mainly by telephone, though respondents can also complete an online questionnaire.

You may have been contacted as a potential respondent. If so, we would greatly appreciate your participation. If you have any questions about the survey, please email us at survey.accesstofinance@ecb.europa.eu.

Official letters from the ECB and European Commission to the SAFE respondents

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