BERLIN — Europe’s leaders are gearing up for a high-stakes week of financial diplomacy that could determine Greece’s future — and the stability of the 17 countries that use the euro.
The first round of the talks began Monday when Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, hosted his Greek counterpart, Dimitris Avramopoulos, ahead of a meeting in Berlin on Friday between their countries’ leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel and new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
President Francois Hollande of France visits Berlin on Thursday for discussions with Merkel and then will meet Samaras in Paris on Saturday. Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister who chairs the eurozone finance ministers’ meetings, is due in Athens on Wednesday.
The eurozone is awaiting a report, expected next month, on Greece’s progress in implementing reforms and austerity measures demanded in exchange for two massive bailout packages. The report is being compiled by the so-called troika — representatives of the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund.
Greece has been dependent on two multibillion international bailouts. But despite taking a series of harsh austerity measures that saw salaries and pensions slashed and repeated rounds of tax hikes, the results have not been what European and Greek officials hoped for.
Samaras’ fragile three-party coalition government, formed after two elections in May and June, has said it hopes to renegotiate parts of the unpopular bailout conditions, mainly seeking an extension in the two-year austerity deadline. But German officials and lawmakers have made it clear they have no appetite for granting Greece more time or other concessions.
Following the meeting with his Greek counterpart Monday, Westerwelle said Greece needs to carry out its existing reform program and insisted anew that ‘‘a substantial softening of the agreements and the agreed reforms is not possible from the German government’s point of view.’’
He added that Germany ‘‘wants us to remain together in the eurozone’’ but that ‘‘the key to success lies in Athens.’’
Here is a round-up of what else is happening around Europe:
Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, has again stressed its skepticism toward proposed purchases government bonds by the European Central Bank. ECB president Mario Draghi said on Aug. 2 that the bank might make such purchases to lower the high borrowing costs faced by some governments, if those countries first applied for help from the eurozone’s bailout fun. Draghi noted that the Bundesbank was the sole dissenter to the plan.
The German national central bank said in its monthly report Monday that it continues to ‘‘critically assess’’ such purchases and that they would carry ‘‘substantial risks.’’
Spain’s borrowing costs dropped sharply Monday following remarks made by the country’s Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos.
Over the weekend, de Guindos said the ECB’s bond-buying campaign should not be limited in amount or time. In early afternoon trading, the interest rate on Spanish 10-year bonds in secondary markets stood at 6.29, down 15 points for the day.