European officials were on Friday waiting for a signal from Athens that would allow stalled bailout negotiations to resume, with one eye on the outcome of last night’s party leaders’ debate in Parliament for indications of what is likely to be included in Greece’s counterproposal to creditors.
Negotiations have been frozen since Thursday, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras returned to Athens from Brussels following marathon talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem. According to sources, European officials were shocked by Greece’s decision to bundle its repayments to the International Monetary Fund this month as Tsipras was said to have assured his interlocutors that Friday’s 300-million-euro repayment would be made on time.
Officials expect Tsipras to meet again with Juncker and Dijsselbloem, possibly on Wednesday, when the Greek premier is due to be in Brussels for a summit of European leaders. According to Margaritis Schinas, an EC spokesman, no official invitation has been made yet but a meeting is likely. “We said such a meeting is possible, yes, but at this stage Juncker has not addressed a similar invitation,” Schinas told reporters, referring to the talks earlier this week.
Dijsselbloem, for his part, said any new measures in Greece’s counterproposal must be “financially and economically responsible.” “We want to pull together a plan to put Greece back on a solid financial and economic path,” he said. But he stressed, “They can’t only take pleasant measures, they also have to take tough measures and that is what the Greek government has to recognize.”