Greece and its creditors failed to clinch a deal Thursday on new bailout funds, setting the stage for a last-ditch effort over the weekend to come to an agreement or risk sending the financial markets into fresh turmoil.
Without a deal to unlock frozen aid, Greece could default on a 1.6 billion euro repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next Tuesday.
Eurozone finance ministers ended their third meeting in a week without agreement after the three creditor institutions — the IMF, the European Central Bank and eurozone governments – put a final cash-for-reform proposal on the table in a showdown with Athens, Reuters reported.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that talks were going nowhere as Greek positions on some issues seemed even to have gone into reverse.
But officials held out hope that the issue could be resolved in further meetings over the weekend.
“The door is still open for the Greek side to come with new proposals or accept what is on the table,” Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said.
Greece thrust its way onto the agenda of a 28-nation EU summit that had been due to focus on migration, the long-term future of the euro zone and launching a renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms.
The leaders spent two hours on an unscheduled discussion of the Greek crisis, appealing to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to accept the proposals on the table and spare the Greek people worse suffering, the report said.
“The climate is that either by Saturday Greece accepts or on Saturday there will be a discussion about Plan B,” a eurozone official at the summit was quoted as saying.
The official was referring to measures that would be needed in the case of a default to prevent a Greek bank collapse and limit any market contagion to other euro area countries.
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