Ball in your court, EU, ECB tell Athens | News | DW | 15.06.2015
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Ball in your court, EU, ECB tell Athens

Germany, France and the ECB have insisted that a solution to the Greece's debt crisis lies with Athens. The message comes after talks between Greece and its creditors ended without agreement at the weekend.

Solving the Greek financial crisis "lies exclusively with Athens," a spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Monday. He insisted it was up to the Greek government "to respond to the generous offer made by the three institutions," meaning the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission.

French President Francois Hollande chimed in, saying that "Greece must not wait ... there's not a moment to lose," warning of "turbulence" if no deal is reached.

ECB President Mario Draghi urged all sides to "go the extra mile," for a "strong and credible agreement with Greece," but also stressed that the ball "lies squarely in the camp of the Greek government to take the necessary steps," he told a European Parliament Committee.

German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann also blamed Athens for the lack of progress. "It seems that a readiness [to reach an agreement] is missing," he said on Monday.

More 'realism'

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, meanwhile, says he is ready to restart talks at any time and that Greece was "awaiting the invitation of the institutions," according to a statement.

Negotiations between Athens and its international creditors broke down over the weekend, with Tsipras calling for more "realism" among the IMF, the EU Commission and the ECB.

The European Commission, however, says one of the main stumbling blocks was Greece's unwillingness to agree to substantial reform of its generous pension system, sales tax, the labor markets and industry.

The talks had focused on unlocking another aid tranche to Greece worth 7.2 billion-euros ($8.1-billion) in exchange for substantial reforms.

Time is running short as Greece has to repay the IMF alone 1.6 billion euros by the end of the month, which is also when the European portion of its international bailout expires.

The eurogroup of finance ministers is due to meet on Thursday, which is when the creditors had hoped to sign off on a deal with Greece.

"We are ready to continue talks but what now is needed is really a meaningful proposal from the Greek side .... on how Greece is going to exit the crisis and how it is going to turn to financial stability and economic growth," European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said.

Market jitters

Major share indices across Europe and the US fell on Monday, as investors are increasingly worried that a deal with Greece remains elusive.

Athens' main share index plunged 7.14 percent in early trade Monday before closing down 4.68 percent, with financial stocks especially hard hit.

France's CAC 40 shed 1.75 percent, while Germany's DAX dropped 1.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 1.1 percent.

The euro also initially weakened against the US dollar before recovering its losses.

ng/rc (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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