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European Union urges Greece to stop "gambling"

European Council President Donald Tusk has warned Greece to stop what he called “gambling” and make efforts to reach a deal with its international creditors on the country’s huge debt. “There is no more time for gambling. In the coming days I am afraid that in fact someone says the game is over,” Tusk said Thursday in a press conference following an EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit, which was mostly overshadowed by the row over Greece’s bailout program.

“We need decisions not negotiations now. It is my opinion that the Greek government has to be, I think, a little bit more realistic,” added Tusk, who met Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Brussels on Wednesday. The former Polish premier further described as “crucial” the June 18 meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg, where a reforms-for-cash accord with Athens could emerge, saying the upcoming talks “should be deciscive.” “We have no more time, I am absolutely sure,” he insisted.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2-L) and French President Francois Hollande (R) are seen during a meeting on June 10, 2015, in Brussels. (© AFP)

 

The development came as Greek anti-austerity activists occupied the Finance Ministry building in the capital Athens on Thursday to protest against the new austerity measures required by the country’s international creditors to grant Greece a bailout loan. The protesters took down the European Union flag waving over the building and put up a banner with portraits of Tsipras alongside his predecessors, George Papandreou and Antonis Samaras, reading “We have bled enough, we have paid enough.”

Tsipras is due to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels to discuss a possible bailout deal aimed at averting Greece’s bankruptcy. The anti-austerity Syriza party of the premier won Greek elections in January pledging to ease the hardships caused by the austerity measures imposed on Athens under two international bailouts since 2010 Meanwhile, the country’s creditors – the European Union and the International Monetary Fund -- have refused to give Athens the final 7.2 billion euros remaining of the bailout funds promised to Greece until Greek authorities implement the unpopular reforms they demand. If Greece fails to receive the funds, it will be unable to cover its foreign debts and forced out of the euro bloc.

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