EU aid fund to protect euro from attacks, Merkel says

08:35, May 11, 2010      

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Graphics shows European Union (EU) finance ministers agreed on an unprecedented rescue mechanism worth up to 750 billion euros (956 billion U.S. dollars) to prevent spread of the Greek debt crisis and rebuild confidence in financial markets on May 10, 2010. (Xinhua Photo) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that a 750-billion-euro rescue package for eurozone members agreed on overnight would save the euro from sliding and fight speculations.

Europe's leaders were making "a concerted effort" to save the euro, Merkel told reporters in Berlin, hours after the European Union unveiled an unprecedented loan package worth of 750 billion euros (960 billion dollars), which was backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and for eurozone countries facing instability troubles.

The package, which was hammered out after a 14-hour overnight meeting of Eropean financial chiefs, was "unique in history" and would "serve to strengthen and protect the common currency," Merkel said.

Under the rescue package, eurozone governments agreed to offer 440 billion euros in loans or guarantees, with 60 billion euros more from the EU's budget. The IMF pledged 250 billion euros for crisis-hit eurozone countries and the European Central Bank said it would buy government and private debt.

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