Greece and its creditors both say the ball is in the other guy's court

Tsipras JunckerAP Photo/Mindaugas KulbisEuropean Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, pushes his tie against the shirt of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during arrivals at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, on Friday, May 22, 2015.

The leaders of France, Germany, and the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank all met Monday night to hammer out a final deal to propose to Greece  — which sounded like it would be a take it or leave it offer.

As it turns out, Greece’s government was doing exactly the same. They now have their own offer to present to Europe.

In short, both sides are now offering the other a chance to sign on the dotted line. We haven’t yet seen the details of either proposed deals, but reports so far suggest there’s still a major gulf between the two camps.

Though Die Welt reported that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was now willing to compromise over reforms to Greece’s expensive pension system, Tsipras’ earlier tweet suggests not: 

Reuters’ report on Tsipras’ submission suggests that the two sides are still not close on a deal. One line was particularly telling:

Sources close to the talks said the latest proposal did not contain major new concessions on issues holding up a deal, such as pension and labour issues. 

Those are the big compromises that have been holding up talks for so long. The IMF and some of the more hawkish European finance ministers will demand genuine reforms, or they simply won’t produce any bailout funds.

Greece needs to unlock its latest tranche of financial aid to make debt repayments due on June 5, and a further three payments to the IMF in the two weeks after that.

In short, Athens can propose whatever it likes — but the government does not have a strong hand (if it has any cards at all).

Though Greek government sources and spokespeople have persistently expressed optimism about the state of the talks, that’s been shot down every time by representatives of the creditor countries and institutions.

Without some sort of compromise on those pension and labour market issues — whoever’s doing the compromising — it seems extremely unlikely that there’ll be any sort of deal.

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