Out Of The Cradle Of Democracy—— Here Come Brussels’ Legislative Page-Boys

by Radoslav Tomek, Ott Ummelas, Karl Stagno Navarra at Bloomberg

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was given three days to push new austerity measures through parliament and keep alive Greece’s chances of staying in the euro.

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Finance ministers meeting in Brussels demanded Greece enact economic reforms before opening detailed negotiations on an aid package of at least 74 billion euros ($83 billion). They left it to the region’s leaders, who started their own session a few hours later, to pin down how far those measures should go. If Tsipras misses that deadline, Greece may be suspended from the currency union, Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb said.

“Greece is being given exactly two choices,” Stubb said. “It’s a rather black-and-white choice.”

Riled by six months of personal attacks and contradictory messages from Athens, euro-area policy makers are forcing Tsipras to overcome the credibility gap they said was a key hurdle to more loans. They’re no longer willing to take him at his word.

“The situation is extremely difficult if you consider the economic situation in Greece and the worsening in the last few months, but what has been lost also in terms of trust and reliability,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.

With Greek banks rationing cash and the European Central Bank reviewing how long it can keep the country’s financial system alive, Tsipras won a stay of execution as he arrived at the summit when a Sunday meeting of the 28 European Union leaders was canceled. The full group of leaders would only have gathered to discuss how to handle Greece’s exit from the euro, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

The euro fell in early Asian trading, declining 0.5 percent to $1.1107 as of 5:08 a.m. in Sydney.

Summit Presentations

The leaders’ summit began with presentations on the state of play from officials including Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the finance ministers’

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