Euro zone launches rescue fund as Greece, Spain struggle
LUXEMBOURG (AFP) - The Euro zone launches its much-awaited 500-billion-euro (S$800 billion) rescue fund on Monday, a positive backdrop for finance ministers trying to settle Greece's tortuous debt bailout and as Spain agonises over seeking a rescue.
Finance ministers of the 17-state euro bloc gather just 10 days before the European Union's 27 leaders meet in Brussels, with recent market calm giving them some breathing room after months of turmoil and anxiety over Spain's future.
The meeting will see the formal launch and inaugural board meeting of the European Stability Mechanism, a key step forward in the Euro zone's defences against the debt crisis which has helped push the bloc back into recession. The fund is not yet operational, however.
Ministers will sign legal papers instituting the fund, which was initially due to enter service on July 1 but was delayed by a challenge at the German Constitutional Court.