Greek talks await ‘serious proposals’ from Athens, says Djisselbloem

Talks with Greece over its debt will remain stalled until Athens comes up with “serious proposals” on budgetary reform, the head of the Eurogroup said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters in The Hague, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said it was “unacceptable” that the Greek government had so far rejected proposals made in talks with himself and European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“They can come with alternatives but then they have to be proper,” he said. “And as long as we don’t have those, then it’s going to be very difficult” to resume talks.

Alekos Flabouraris, a Greek state minister, said earlier Friday his government is hoping to clinch a deal before the Eurogroup meeting of June 18, staving off default.

The Eurogroup is the name given to meetings of the finance ministers from countries that use the euro.

Dijsselbloem said success is up to the Greeks.

“The meeting will go ahead anyway, whether there’s a concept agreement ready we can talk about then or not,” he said. “It’ foremost in the Greeks’ interests to get that agreement. And the way things are now, of course — it’s not going anywhere.”

He said that the International Monetary Fund’s move Thursday to pull its negotiating team out of Brussels did not mean they were giving up on Greece, but that without Greek concessions there is little to discuss.

“The heart of the matter at this moment is that they have to come with serious proposals,” he said.