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Euro zone boosts powers of rescue fund to aid Greece, Ireland, Portugal

July 22, 2011 Comments off

theglobeandmail

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, left, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso speak after the EU summit Thursday in Brussels. - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, left, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso speak after the EU summit Thursday in Brussels. | AFP/Getty Images

Euro zone leaders agreed at an emergency summit on Thursday to give their financial rescue fund sweeping new powers to help Greece overcome its debt crisis and prevent market instability from spreading through the region.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said leaders of the 17-nation currency area had agreed to ease lending terms to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, while private investors would voluntarily swap their Greek bonds for longer maturities at lower interest rates to help Athens.