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updated: 9/25/2012 7:42 AM

Eurozone considers boosting bailout fund firepower

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Associated Press

BERLIN -- Germany says eurozone officials are discussing the possibility of boosting the firepower of their new, permanent (euro) 500 billion ($650 billion) rescue fund by involving private investors.

Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus said Monday that "the discussion in Brussels is not concluded" on the issue and it's not possible to say by how much a so-called leveraging of the fund, the European Stability Mechanism, might increase its power.

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Eurozone countries agreed last year that the existing temporary rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, could be leveraged, but the possibility has never been used.

Kotthaus said that, whatever happens, Germany's total liability of up to (euro) 190 billion won't increase and any agreement would need the German Parliament's approval. The new ESM is expected to start work next month.

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