Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras landed in Brussels on Tuesday in the hope of using the bailout referendum victory as leverage to secure a rescue deal with European leaders. Tsipras faces intense pressure from creditors abroad and banks at home who all demand what Greece lacks: money.
Tsipras was accompanied by his newly-appointed finance minister who replaced Yanis Varoufakis. Euclid Tsakalotos, a 55-year-old economist, has appeared more willing to engage with creditors than his predecessor. "I won't hide from you that I am very nervous and very anxious. I am not taking over at the easiest moment in Greek history," Tsakalotos said after being sworn in.
As he arrived for the meeting, Tsakalotos carried notes, including a line that read "no triumphalism."
Ahead of Tuesday's planned talks, the situation was complicated by the European Central Bank's refusal late on Monday to increase assistance for Greek banks desperately needing cash and facing imminent collapse unless a rescue deal is reached.
However, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Europe's group of finance ministers, confirmed on Tuesday that the Greek delegation did not table any fresh proposals for a bailout deal. Athens is expected to share its new vision on Wednesday.
With Greece's future in the European Union and its euro currency at stake, a Monday meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Paris set the tone for the Brussels talks. "Time is of the essence," Merkel said afterward. "[Greek] proposals have to be on the table this week."
Merkel, who is under increasing domestic pressure to cut Greece from the single currency, said it was up to the Greek administration to present solid proposals after the government rejected tax rises, spending cuts and pension and labour reforms in exchange for a 240 billion euro bailout.
Tsipras scored a bigger than expected win in Sunday's bailout referendum, with 61 percent of voters rejecting the economic measures creditors had proposed in exchange for loans Greece needs to remain afloat, including further cuts to pensions.