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European Leaders Expand Bailout Fund


European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, left, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy participate in a media conference at an EU Summit in Brussels, March 12, 2011

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, left, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy participate in a media conference at an EU Summit in Brussels, March 12, 2011

Leaders of the 17 European nations which use the euro currency agreed Saturday to nearly double the size of the bailout fund used to help member states experiencing financial difficulties.

Under the deal reached during a summit in Brussels, the capacity of the fund, formally called the European Financial Stability Facility, increases from about $350 billion to more than $600 billion.

The leaders also agreed to lower the interest rate on a $110 billion bailout loan to Greece.

Greece will also have 7.5 years instead of three to repay the loans from European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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