Wary Eurozone meets on Greece bailout

Athens(REUTERS): Sceptical Eurozone Finance Ministers demanded on Saturday that Greece go beyond painful austerity measures accepted by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras if he wants them to open negotiations on a third bailout for his bankrupt country to keep it in the euro.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives for a meeting as his lawmakers of Syriza party applaud him at the Greek Parliament.

Ministers lined up to vent their anger at Mr. Tsipras on arrival at their umpteenth emergency weekend meeting on Greece’s acute debt crisis, with Athens staring into an economic abyss when financial markets reopen on Monday unless it wins fresh aid.

Deal forecast

Deal forecast EU officials forecast a deal would be reached by the end of the weekend to keep Greece afloat, but two sources said there was consensus among the other 18 Ministers that the leftist government in Athens must take further steps to convince them it would honour any new debts.

Mr. Tsipras won parliamentary backing early on Saturday for a tough reform package that largely mirrored measures previously demanded by its international creditors but rejected by Greek voters at his behest in a referendum last Sunday. Wolfgang Schaeuble, Finance Minister of its biggest creditor Germany and a stickler for the EU’s fiscal rules, said negotiations would be “exceptionally difficult”.

Lack of trust

Emerging optimism about Greece had been “destroyed in an incredible way in the last few months” since Mr. Tsipras won power, Mr. Schaeuble said.

Other Ministers arriving for the Eurogroup session spoke of a fundamental lack of trust after years of broken Greek promises and six months of erratic and provocative behaviour by the radical leftist Tsipras government.