Greece cannot accept the latest proposals for a cash-for-reforms deal put on the table by its international lenders but was prepared to negotiate a compromise, Greek Economy Minister George Stathakis said on Friday.
Greece delayed a key debt payment to the International Monetary Fund due on Friday as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras demanded changes to tough terms from international creditors for aid to stave off default.
Stathakis said Greece had the money to pay, but had accepted an offer from the IMF to bundle four payments due in June into a single 1.6 billion euro lump sum due at the end of the month.
“We are looking forward to getting a deal as soon as possible,” he told BBC Radio, but said that while Greece was ready to discuss compromises, it would not accept proposed fiscal adjustments for 2015 and 2016.
“It was actually included in their proposal without being on the negotiation table during the last month … the Greek government cannot accept these new proposals,” he said.
Asked if Greece was prepared to leave the euro zone, Stathakis said his Syriza party, elected in January on a promise to end austerity, had not been given a mandate to do that by the Greek people.
“Our government has a mandate to remain in the euro and get a better deal to … try to change the terms of the agreement that we have with European partners,” he said. “Greece has to remain within the euro.”