12th June 2015
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has walked away from talks with Greek politicians over the future of the beleaguered country after failing to agree on bailout terms.
The IMF’s negotiators have decided to go back to Washington as they have come to a stalemate in Brussels. The heart of the dispute lies in the reform of Greece’s labour and pensions policies, which Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is so far refusing to do.
‘The ball is very much in Greece’s court,’ IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said.
‘There are major differences between us in the most key areas. There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently.’
The EU wants Greece to scale back the generosity of its state pension and reform labour policy that protects civil service jobs. If no reform is forthcoming the IMF has said it will not release the €7.2 billion of bailout money available to Greece, without which the country could be pushed into bankruptcy.
A spokesman for the Syriza-led Greek government said its negotiating team was ready to wrap up a deal in the ‘next 24 hours’.
If Greece collapses it will default on the €320 billion of bailout loans from the EU.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk said the Greek government needed to be ‘realistic’ about its options.
‘There is no more time for gambling. The day is coming, I’m afraid, that some says that the game is over,’ he said.