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Germany ratifies EU bailout fund treaty

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's president has signed off on the ratification of the eurozone's permanent €500 billion ($645 billion) rescue fund, clearing its last legal hurdle in Germany.

Joachim Gauck's office said the head of state signed the European Stability Mechanism treaty Thursday.

The ratification in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, had been delayed by a court case, but the Federal Constitutional Court cleared the way for it to be signed two weeks ago, adding provisions that were agreed to by other eurozone countries last week.

The bailout fund is key to solving Europe's crisis. The European Central Bank unveiled a plan to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds issued by troubled countries if they first apply for help from the ESM. Its board of governors will hold its first meeting Oct. 8.