The race is on to work out a deal to sort out the financial crisis in Greece after a last-chance EU summit was called off.
Now sceptical European creditors are trying to come to an agreement amongst themselves – as today is the self-imposed deadline to decide how to save the Greek economy from total financial collapse.
Greece wants €53.5bn from Europe’s bailout fund but as it’s already been bailed out three times in the past five years – potential creditors want guarantees.
There is pressure on Greek PM Alexis Tsipras to prove he can be trusted to put tight austerity measures in place to bring the country’s finances back from ruin.
There are rumours France and Germany are in disagreement over what Europe should expect from Greece in return for the money, but a French official denied this.
He said: “There is no fear of a rift and we will find strong cohesion.”
France is reportedly helping the Greek PM prepare the reform proposals that are his lifeline to international aid over the coming days or weeks, however Germany apparently said Greece needs to do much more to receive help.
This is crunch time for Greece as it is in serious danger of financial collapse. The economy is in freefall and the country faces big debt repayments soon.
Banks have been shut for a around a fortnight and ATM withdrawals have a daily limit of €60.
“We have lost so much time we cannot afford to lose time any more,” Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan said as he arrived for talks today.
“We continue to work to establish the conditions to start negotiations, which is the real target. It is not about closing a deal.”
However, in a sign that a dramatic Greek exit from the euro would not happen today, a full summit of the European Union’s 28 leaders was cancelled.
Instead, the eurozone’s 19 leaders, including Mr Tsipras, were meeting this afternoon to assess the outcome of the finance ministers’ talks and plot a further way ahead.