The eurozone's new rescue fund is set to come into force today (October 8th) when finance ministers from all 17 of the single currency region's member nations meet in Luxembourg.
Worth €500 billion (£400 billion), the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will become fully operational when participating countries have deposited their contributions, allowing the facility to lend €200 billion out of the total kitty by the end of this month.
Europe's largest economy, Germany, will be making the biggest payment – about 27 per cent of the total fund.
The formal launch of the ESM comes amid increasing uncertainty over Greece's debt bailout and concerns Spain will need financial assistance from its eurozone counterparts.
It will run alongside – and eventually replace – the European Financial Stability Fund.
At 10:45 BST, the major eurozone benchmarks were lower, with Frankfurt's Dax sliding 1.3 per cent to 7301.4 points, the Parisian Cac 40 dipping 1.1 per cent to 3416.7 points and the Madrid Ibex losing 0.8 per cent to 7885.0 points.
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