Greece's opposition leader wasn't invited to Thursday's European Union summit but he became its hapless star.
Antonis Samaras wants to block spending cuts, tax increases and economic reforms that Greece has to approve to win more loans next month and avoid what some fear would be economic catastrophe.
Samaras came to Brussels for a meeting on the sidelines of the summit and pushed other European conservative leaders to back a "corrected" version of the plan.
But he swiftly came under fire from the leaders of Germany, Netherlands and Sweden _ in an unusual case of collective meddling by EU leaders in a member country's domestic politics.
EU leaders have been struggling for more than a year to keep Greece's debt woes from bringing the rest of the eurozone down, and some appear to be losing patience.
Germany's Angela Merkel said Samaras' conservative party _ which was in power for years before rival Socialists took over and acknowledged crushing debt problems _ should take its "historical responsibility."
Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said: "It is very important that no Greek political leader tells the Greek people that they have a shortcut."
Samaras acknowledged that he came under pressure Thursday by other European conservative leaders to lift his objections to the bailout agreement. But it's unclear how much they chipped away at his resolve.
"European leaders listen to our view. Some agreed with our position, but most stuck to their own positions," Samaras told Greek state-run NET television. "I explained to them that we cannot give our backing to a mistake."
Samaras, a U.S.-educated economist, is a controversial figure in Greek politics, too.
He spent years in political exile after forming a breakaway party in the early 1990s that caused a damaging split in the conservative electorate.
A few months after he was elected leader of the New Democracy party, he expelled his predecessor after she voted for last year's international rescue package for Greece.
Without the next euro12 billion ($17 billion) installment of its existing euro110 billion bailout, Greece will default on its massive debt my mid-July. The country is also negotiating a second rescue package as it remains stuck in recession and locked out of international debt markets.
Samaras' party has stubbornly refused to back Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou over the bailout program, arguing that its excessive reliance of tax hikes is counterproductive and locking Greece's economy in recession.
Surprise talks with Papandreou this month to form a grand coalition government collapsed. Samaras' party recently took a slim lead in opinion polls, after trailing for three years.
As a result, Samaras is demanding early elections.
Gatopoulos reported from Athens.