Third time unlucky for the euro zone as the latest in a trio of meetings in the last week fails to cut a deal between Greece and its international creditors. As Ivor Bennett reports, euro zone leaders are now said to be eyeing a 'Plan B' in case of a default.
Negotiations didn't look like they were strained. Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras ignoring their differences, and even seeing the funny side. But the outcome of the EU leaders' summit in Brussels is no laughing matter. Still no deal between Greece and her creditors. The German Chancellor spelling out the last-chance saloon. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "The summit on Saturday, I mean the Eurogroup on Saturday, is of decisive importance, bearing in mind time is very short and that everyone in the European Council agrees that a solution must be found on Saturday, therefore a decisive meeting." EU finance ministers have already met three times in the last week. All ending in deadlock. Creditors concerned Greek proposals to raise taxes won't generate enough revenue. Athens rejecting the terms that came back. Not a problem for the Greek Prime Minister apparently as he arrived at the summit. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "European history is full of disagreements, negotiations, and then compromises. So after the comprehensive Greek proposals I am confident that we will reach the compromises that will help euro zone and Greece to overcome the crisis." His mood may've changed since though. The late night talks ending with an ultimatum from Athens' creditors: accept our proposals on Saturday or we'll switch to Plan B. That means shoring up defences in case of a default. But IG's Chris Beauchamp thinks it won't come to that. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "Alexis Tsipras is playing a very dangerous game, dragging things out as long as possible but with a last minute concession maybe in his back pocket that will secure them a deal. But I think investors should be careful that Monday dawns and we start to see the instigation of capital controls in one of the key countries of the euro zone." While Greece stole the headlines, the meat of the summit, in theory, was migration. And on that, at least, leaders did reach a consensus. Agreeing to relocate 40,000 migrants who've arrived in Italy and Greece to other EU states over the next two years.