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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, documents trends in the need for and availability of external financing, and measures firms’ expectations about their selling prices, costs, and employment, as well as about euro area inflation. The survey results are broken down by firm size, sector, country, firm age, financial autonomy and ownership.

The survey is conducted every quarter as of 2024 Q1 (formerly every six month), three quarters 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 - First quarter of 2024

Financing conditions

Financing conditions tightened over the first quarter of 2024, but to a much lesser extent than in the previous survey round. Firms reported a modest reduction in their need for bank loans, along with a smaller decline in the availability of bank loans. As a result, the increase in the financing gap was smaller than in the previous round.

Economic activity

While fewer firms reported an increase in turnover over the last three months, they are more optimistic about developments over the next quarter. Cost pressures remained widespread across SMEs and large firms and weighed on their profitability.

Firms’ expectations

Firms expect the increase in their selling prices and wages to moderate over the next 12 months. Firms’ inflation expectations declined, and disagreement about the inflation outlook also moderated.


For the media

This report presents the main results of the 30th round of the Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE) in the euro area, conducted between 1 February and 12 March 2024.

Read the press release

Full report

Find out more about the latest survey responses on firms’ financing conditions, economic activity and expectations.

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:

  • Firms’ financing conditions, including needs and availability of financing and financing costs

  • Firms’ economic conditions, including profits, turnover, investment, and costs

  • Firms’ expectations about their selling prices, wages, and employment, as well as about euro area inflation

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

Every quarter, usually in February, June, September and December, we contact thousands of businesses in Europe to ask what financing conditions they are experiencing and how easily they can access finance.

Verian, 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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