Prominent economists called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to change her policy course and stop "force-feeding" the Greek people "never-ending austerity" in an open letter published in leading European newspapers on Tuesday.
"The medicine prescribed by the German finance ministry and Brussels has bled the patient, not cured the disease," the economists wrote in an open letter to Merkel published on the website of Germany's Tagesspiegel.
"Right now, the Greek government is being asked to put a gun to its head and pull the trigger," they said in the letter, which will also appear in France's Le Monde and in English in The Guardian and The Nation.
"Sadly, the bullet will not only kill off Greece's future in Europe. The collateral damage will kill the euro zone as a beacon of hope, democracy and prosperity, and could lead to far-reaching economic consequences across the world."
At an emergency euro zone summit on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras launched a desperate bid to win fresh aid from sceptical creditors.
But Merkel, under domestic pressure to take a hard line on Greece, has made it clear that it is up to Tsipras to put forward credible proposals before negotiations with Athens can reopen.
The open letter, which was signed by Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Jeffrey D. Sachs from Columbia University among others, urged Merkel to make concessions towards Greece.
"To Chancellor Merkel our message is clear: we urge you to take this vital action of leadership for Greece and Germany, and also for the world."
"History will remember you for your actions this week. We expect and count on you to provide the bold and generous steps towards Greece that will serve Europe for generations to come."
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