Immediately afterward, they resumed negotiations aiming at an agreement on a second bailout package for Greece and the measures needed to stabilise the eurozone.
Earlier on Thursday, before the start of the summit, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her advisors. The meeting was later also joined by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker. Also present was International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Top Greek bankers arrive in Brussels
Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos and National Bank chairman Vassilis Rapanos arrived in Brussels on Thursday.
Their presence in the Belgian capital was necessary as decisions expected to be taken over a second support package for Greece were to have serious consequences on the country’s banking system, in case a European solution affects banks.
KKE: Whatever solution given will be 'thunderbolt' for the Greek people
Whatever solution is given at the eurozone summit will literally be a "thunderbolt" for the Greek people, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said on Thursday, adding that it will have a very heavy price and its consequences will be long-term.
Speaking to seamen on the ship "Phaestos", Papariga said: "Whatever solution they give, either extension (of the loan repayment), or 'haircut', or buy-back of bonds, or whether they say that they will tax the banks and that the banks' portfolios will be streamlined through that taxation...whatever they say, for the working people it will be a very heavy price".
Besides, she added, the EU today was not discussing measures for the working people, measures to improve the place of the working people or for the relief of the working people.
"The working people, you see, of course have the ability of losing even more. That is not what they will be discussing," Papariga said.
She said that the big argument was over the distribution of the burdens on each country, since "each one is looking to lose the least in fewer years and to ensure that, from what it loses, it will quickly receive something in return to restart the profitability of the big capital".