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‘The ball lies firmly with Greece’: ECB’s Draghi

With talks between Greece and its creditors at a stalemate and time rapidly running out for a solution to Athens' dire debt problem, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) has called on the country's government to make the first move.

"While all actors have to go the extra mile, the ball lies firmly with the Greek government," ECB President Mario Draghi told the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on Monday.

His words came after talks broke down over the weekend between Greece and its international bailout supervisors—the ECB, International Monetary Fund and Greece's fellow euro countries—over a rescue-for-reforms deal. European officials blamed Greece for failing to offer concessions in return for a much-needed tranche of aid.

Read MoreGreece on 'brink of disaster;' calls emergency meeting

Draghi said that a "strong and comprehensive agreement" with Greece was needed "very soon."

Greek pensioners shout slogans during a demonstration in Athens May 20, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis | Reuters
Greek pensioners shout slogans during a demonstration in Athens May 20, 2015.

The country has already delayed repaying the International Monetary Fund this month, saying it will bundle four debt repayments into one at the end of the month.

Draghi said that the ECB had extended around 118 billion euros ($133 billion) to Greek banks in 2015, more than double the amount in 2014 and equivalent to around two-thirds of Greece's gross domestic product (GDP).

Greece has also received money from the International Monetary Fund and a haircut to its debt repayments.

"I don't want to overplay the significance of these numbers—(but) they are significant," he said in response to a question.

The central banker added that the ECB was doing all it could to facilitate negotiations with Greece, but that action had to be taken by "elected politicians, not by central bankers."

He added that the difficulties with Greece emphasized the "unfinished nature" of the 19-country euro zone.

"We need a quantum leap towards a stronger, more efficient architecture," Draghi said.

Draghi added that he had been "told" to speak less about the need for euro zone countries to make structural reforms, as this was outside his remit.

Defending himself, he said that other central bankers had commented on policies outside their remit throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He added that it would have been "reasonable" for central bankers to have done so in the boom years that preceded the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 "in jurisdictions where reforms were being destroyed."