Economists and analysts have been swooning over a new series of ultra-cheap, ultra-long bank loans announced by the European Central Bank (ECB) last month, which they believe might just kickstart the region's fragile economy.
"It's massively positive," Erik Nielsen, global chief economist at UniCredit, told CNBC via email regarding the new breed of "credit-easing" tactics announced by ECB President Mario Draghi.
These targeted long-term refinancing operations, or TLTRO IIs, advance on a previous model announced by the central bank in 2011 and effectively give free money to the banks to lend to the real economy.
They're a series of four loans - conducted between June 2016 and March 2017 - and will have a fixed maturity of four years. The interest rate will start at nothing, but could become as low as the current deposit rate, which is currently -0.40 percent, if banks meet their loan targets. This means the banks will be receiving cash for borrowing from the central bank.