World Economy

EU Summit Cancelled, Greece Talks Continue

EU Summit Cancelled, Greece Talks ContinueEU Summit Cancelled, Greece Talks Continue

A summit of all European Union members planned for Sunday has been cancelled as "very difficult" talks over a third bailout deal for Greece continue.

Eurozone finance ministers adjourned the talks Saturday night and they have now resumed.

European Council president Donald Tusk said a meeting of Eurogroup leaders would go ahead at 14:00GMT and "last until we conclude talks on Greece". Without a deal, it is feared Greece could crash out of the euro, BBC reported.

Marathon talks on Saturday had ended without agreement and Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem described negotiations as "very difficult". Argument became so heated that Dijsselbloem decided to adjourn at midnight and resume talks at 11 a.m. to allow tempers to cool.

"We have had an in-depth discussion of the Greek proposals, the issue of credibility and trust was discussed and also of course financial issues involved," Dijsselbloem told reporters. "It is still very difficult but work is in progress."

Eurozone leaders will fight to the finish to keep near-bankrupt Greece in the eurozone, he said.

In return, leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be required to enact key legislation in parliament on Monday to start restoring the broken trust of his partners in the 19-nation currency union to win a third bailout, ministers said.

Several hardline countries voiced support for a German government paper that recommended Greece take a five-year "time-out" from the eurozone unless it accepted and implemented swiftly much tougher conditions, notably by locking state assets to be privatized in an independent trust to pay down debt.

The ministers agreed in principle to seek ways to ease Greece's debt burden by extending loan maturities and other steps stopping short of a "haircut" or writedown, provided Athens first implements key reforms of taxation, pensions, labor markets and public administration.

Enough Is Enough

Greece must not be allowed to leave the eurozone, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was quoted as saying on Sunday, adding he would tell the German government it had to compromise and not humiliate Athens.

"Now common sense must prevail and an agreement must be reached. Italy does not want Greece to exit the euro and to Germany I say: enough is enough," Renzi was quoted as saying by Rome-based daily Il Messaggero on Sunday.

"Now that Tsipras has made proposals in line with the European demands, we must absolutely sign a deal. Humiliating a European partner after Greece has given up on just about everything is unthinkable," Renzi was quoted as saying.

Greeks See Humiliation

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, who is in charge of the euro in the EU executive, doused Greek hopes of an immediate agreement on Sunday to start loan negotiations.

"It's utterly unlikely the European Commission will get a mandate to start formal negotiations as regards a third program or ESM program today," he said, referring to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.

A draft statement by the Eurogroup discussed late on Saturday and seen by Reuters listed a series of additional commitments Greece would have to make just to start loan talks.

"The package needs to be significantly strengthened and broadened in order to provide for appropriate conditionality for a possible three-year ESM program," the document said.