Greece's bailout creditors — the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank — have been engaged in tough negotiations in recent weeks over more budget cuts. The group of creditors, known collectively as the troika, has said it won't release the next batch of loans until more savings are made. Without those loans, Greece will default and probably be forced to leave the eurozone.
In addition, the question of whether Spain will ask for a bailout itself looms. The government in Madrid said this week that it would decide in the coming weeks — although it is still hoping it can avoid asking for any kind of aid.
But the political pressure on Spain is great because should investors become convinced that Madrid will not request aid, they may once again sell off the country's bonds, causing its borrowing rates to rise. If Spain were to be locked out of bond markets because of excessively high rates, the 17 countries that make up the eurozone would have to rescue it at huge financial cost.
"It would be helpful ... if Spain asked for ESM aid," said Van Rompuy. "But it is up to Spain to make up its mind."
Raf Casert and Robert Wielaard in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this story.
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