The mooted bailout – which would eclipse Athens’ first 110bn euros (£91bn) lifeline – has been delayed by disputes over a series of last-minute conditions attached to the support.
As well as a long-agreed austerity package, the Greek government has been told to find 325m euros (£270m) of immediate savings in this year’s budget.
The prospect of a solution to the Greek debt crisis gave markets a lift. But a resolution depends on the implementation of tough austerity measures – and the mood on the streets of Athens was less hopeful.
Retired teacher Michalis Vikendios said: “Even if they cut all pensions, all benefits for the unemployed, and disabled people, the problem will not be solved. It’s a dead end.
“No matter how much money we get if commerce doesn’t start working, if they don’t write down debt we will never exit the crisis.”
Another condition is to deliver a written pledge signed by key political parties that the austerity measures will be honoured even if there is a change of government in forthcoming elections.
European Commission officials in Brussels insist the aim is to keep Greece in the euro, with hopes rising of a final bailout deal, without which Greece will not be able to meet its next debt payments on 20 March.