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Merkel, Hollande and Tsipras on chances of a deal at euro summit

Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 01:13

The leaders of Greece, Germany and France give their assessment of the chances of opening talks on a bailout deal for Athens as they gather for a make-or-break euro zone summit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Euro zone leaders will fight to the finish to keep near-bankrupt Greece in the single currency on Sunday (July 12) after the European Union's chairman cancelled a planned summit of all 28 EU leaders that would have been needed in case of a "Grexit". But leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be required to enact key legislation in parliament from Monday to start restoring the broken trust of his partners in the 19-nation currency union before they will agree to open negotiations on a third bailout, ministers said. "I'm here ready for an honest compromise. We owe that to the peoples of Europe who want Europe united and not divided. We can reach an agreement tonight if all parties want," Tsipras told reporters as he arrived for Sunday's crunch talks. The euro zone leaders gathered after their finance ministers resumed a meeting suspended after nine hours of acrimonious debate on Greece's application for another three-year loan on the basis of reform proposals Tsipras accepted after long resisting. A draft statement seen by Reuters said Greece must pass laws to change its value added tax and pension systems, reform bankruptcy rules and strengthen the independence of its statistics office before bailout talks can even start. German sources said the country's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democratic Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had agreed on a division of labour to force Greece to accept tougher conditions or leave the currency area temporarily. "We will have tough discussions today and there will be no agreement at (just) any price. I know everyone is on the edge. But we have to ensure that that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, namely for the future of Greece as well as for the euro zone as a whole and the principles of our cooperation," Merkel said. French President Francois Hollande cast aside the idea that a temporary Grexit was an option. "There is a Grexit or no Grexit. Or to spell it out in French: Greece is in the euro zone or Greece is no longer in the euro zone, but in that case it's a Europe that retreats and does not progress, and I don't want this," he said. Athens defaulted on an IMF loan repayment last month and faces state bankruptcy if it cannot make a crucial bond redemption to the European Central Bank on July 20, which would likely force the European Central Bank to cut emergency funding for Greek banks.

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Merkel, Hollande and Tsipras on chances of a deal at euro summit

Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 01:13