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Brussels: “We must reach an agreement today and I believe we will, as the future of Europe is at stake,” Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, told reporters on Sunday afternoon after delivering a speech at an ongoing meeting on Greek debt issue.

“Grexit, even temporary Grexit, is not an option,” he said.

The president said a strong majority in the European Parliament is determined to keep Greece in the eurozone. “A Grexit would be a lose-lose situation for all, with unpredictable, possibly catastrophic consequences,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.

However, Schulz underlined that Greece must be the first to help itself. Otherwise, any solution will not be sustainable.

He added a European solution is about reaching a compromise, one in which the different expectations of all parties are met.

“I urge all of you to act with responsibility and solidarity. This is not a time for divisions. It’s time for unity,” he said.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel called the talks on Greece’s debt rescue “extremely difficult” and ruled out “agreement at any price”, according to a BBC report.

Merkel said the eurozone leaders would be considering whether “the conditions are met” to start negotiations on a third bailout.

“That’s what is at stake, nothing more and nothing less,” she said.

But she warned that there would be “no agreement at any price”. “We have to make sure the pros outweigh the cons — for Greece’s future, for the entire eurozone and the principles of our collaboration,” the German chancellor added.

The leaders of 19 eurozone member countries have gathered here to discuss Greece’s bailout programme as EU finance ministers’ meeting ended without an agreement.

Without a debt deal in the coming hours, Greece faces financial collapse and Grexit. Greek banks have been closed for the past two weeks and are running out of cash while the country’s economy is suffering from capital controls.

Besides, Greece has been in arrears to the International Monetary Fund since July 1 and faces a 3.5-billion-euro debt repayment to the European Central Bank on July 20.

(IANS)


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