The eurozone's new permanent fund to bail out struggling economies and banks has been formally launched at a meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg.
The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will have a full lending capacity of €500 billion by 2014, the BBC reports.
The fund will initially run alongside, and then eventually replace, the European Financial Stability Facility.
Europe's largest economy, Germany, will make the biggest contribution, about 27% of the total.
Countries will make their first payments towards the fund this week.