A euro-area rescue fund being backed by $526 billion in national guarantees was signed into law.

Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden signed an act creating the facility in the presence of his euro-area counterparts after a meeting Monday in Luxembourg.

The fund, being created for three years, is the main part of a larger aid package that European Union finance ministers hammered out a month ago to combat a sovereign debt crisis. The European Commission — the EU's executive arm — and the International Monetary Fund also are to contribute funding.

Prodded by the U.S. and Asia to stabilize markets, European governments approved the unprecedented financial backstop to end speculation that the euro area might break apart because of a debt crisis that started in Greece.

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