European leaders working hard to keep Greece in eurozone
A day ahead of a crucial emergency eurozone summit, European leaders renewed efforts to reach a deal between Greece and its creditors that would allow the debt-ridden country to avoid a default and a potentially disastrous exit from the euro.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had separate telephone conversations yesterday with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister's press office said.
Tsipras "presented to the three leaders Greece's proposal for a mutually beneficial agreement, which will provide a permanent solution and not just postpone tackling the problem," the press office statement said.
Later, Hollande told reporters in Milan, where he met with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, that everything must be done to keep financially ailing Greece in the eurozone.
Hollande said that "if the Greeks leave the eurozone it won't be positive for the Greeks or Europeans."
"We need stability" especially since much of Europe is beginning to rebound economically, he said.
"For this reason, we must reach an accord."
Agreement in works
Renzi added that European leaders were working to have an agreement with Greece "in the next hours," but didn't provide any details.
Talks between cash-strapped Greece and its creditors on the completion of an earlier bailout deal had already hit a snag before the January election of the anti-bailout, anti-austerity coalition government headed by the radical leftist Syriza party.
As a result, Greece has not received any bailout funds since summer 2014 and its ailing banking system is only kept afloat through a weekly infusion of emergency funds from the European Central Bank.