Baku, July 13, AZERTAC
Eurozone leaders have told near-bankrupt Greece at an emergency summit that it must enact key reforms this week to restore trust before they will open talks on any new financial rescue to keep it in the European currency area.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will be required to push legislation through parliament to convince his 18 partners in the eurozone to release immediate funds to avert a state bankruptcy and start negotiations on a third bailout program estimated at up to 86 billion euros ($128 billion).
Six sweeping measures including tax and pension reforms will have to be enacted by Wednesday night (local time) and the entire package endorsed by parliament before talks can start, a draft decision sent by Eurogroup finance ministers to the leaders showed.
The document also included a German proposal to make Greece take a "time-out" from the eurozone if it failed to meet the conditions for a loan.
But not all ministers endorsed the idea, which was reserved in brackets in the text.
A senior EU source said such a temporary exit from the euro was illegal and would not survive in the summit statement.
Mr Tsipras said on arrival in Brussels he wanted "another honest compromise" to keep Europe united.
"We can reach an agreement tonight if all parties want it," he said.
But German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the biggest contributor to eurozone bailouts, said the conditions were not yet right to start negotiations, sounding cautious in deference to mounting opposition at home to more aid for Greece.
"The most important currency has been lost and that is trust," she said. "That means that we will have tough discussions and there will be no agreement at any price."
If Greece meets the conditions, the German parliament would meet on Thursday to mandate Ms Merkel and German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to open the talks on a new loan.
Then Eurogroup finance ministers would meet again on Friday or at the weekend to formally launch the negotiations.