European governments capped fresh rescue lending at 500 billioneuros ($666 billion), after a Germany-led coalition opposed afurther expansion of the region's anti-crisis firewall.

Adding the 300 billion euros already committed to Greece,Ireland and Portugal, euro-area finance ministers put the overallsize of the firewall at 800 billion euros. In a statement, theyruled out using the 240 billion euros left in the temporary rescuefund to go beyond that.

“This sum is important,” Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fektertold reporters at a meeting of European finance ministers inCopenhagen today. “Considering the involvement of the InternationalMonetary Fund as well as the discussions at the G-20, jointparticipation depends on what Europe does — and Europe has nowfixed this sum clearly.”

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