The Corona pandemic continues to have a major impact on social and economic activities in Europe at the end of 2021. Measures against the spread of the virus, such as lockdowns and short-time work, pose challenges to public finances in many countries due to the interplay of reduced tax revenues and higher government spending. To provide European countries with liquidity, the European Central Bank has therefore been buying government bonds in enormous volumes since 12 March 2020 as part of the specially launched Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP). The ceiling of 750 billion euros envisaged at the beginning has long been exceeded and since has been raised twice, to now 1,850 billion euros. With this order of magnitude, the PEPP occupies a firm place in terms of importance alongside the Public Sector Purchase Program, the ECB's other extensive bond-buying programme. Since the ECB reserves the right under the PEPP to deviate from the ECB capital key when distributing bond purchases among the euro states, the already existing question about the significance of the ECB for public debt financing in the euro area is intensified.
Against this background, the aim of this research project is to present the development of bond purchases within the PEPP and PSPP, to trace the significance for individual euro countries and to analyse correlations with the ECB capital key and other parameters. The results are central to an assessment of the role of the ECB in the sovereign debt financing of European countries, as well as the long-term functioning and cohesion in the EU.