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European leaders give Greece a final ultimatum

The Local · 3 Nov 2011, 06:05

Published: 03 Nov 2011 06:05 GMT+01:00

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The tough words came from the visibly angry German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy during an emergency meeting with Greece’s beleaguered Prime Minister George Papandreou Wednesday. They followed Papandreou’s shock announcement earlier this week that Greece would hold a national referendum on the rescue deal.

Merkel and Sarkozy both said they hoped Greece would remain in the eurozone, but warned that Athens would not get a free ride. They demanded the referendum be held as soon as possible to clear up uncertainty.

The European leaders also pledged to stand by the euro, even if the Greeks were to vote against it.

"If the Greeks say they do not want to stay in the euro, we will accept it, but we will not abandon the euro," Merkel said.

Without its next eight-billion euro transfer, observers warn, Greece would face problems paying government salaries and a messy debt default within weeks.

Papandreou agreed Greece's future in the euro was at stake and said a vote could be called on December 4. He did not reveal the wording of the referendum question, but he said he was sure Greek voters want to stay in the euro.

He insisted that it was the "democratic right" of the Greeks to vote on the bailout plan – which foresees more tight austerity measures – but added: "I believe that the Greek people want to be in the eurozone."

He conceded that a vote put the country's euro membership at stake: "This is a question of whether we want to remain in the eurozone. That's very clear."

Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, including Hu Jintao of China, Barack Obama of the United States as well as Merkel and Sarkozy meet for their first full session of a two-day summit on Thursday, when they will discuss Greece and the eurozone debt crisis.

The White House said it wanted "unanimity of purpose" to emerge from the G20 and White House spokesman Jay Carney said the situation would be a key subject.

Story continues below…

"It has to be depended mainly on Europe to resolve the European debt problem," Hu said, according to the official Xinhua news agency. "We believe that Europe has all the wisdom and capability to resolve the debt problem."

Papandreou has headed back to Athens to face a confidence vote in parliament, due Friday.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:40 November 3, 2011 by mashlakhito
Haha..Seriously...If France and Germany think that Greece will abide by the rules of the bail-out then they have another thing coming. Greece will say that the they are accepting the terms of the bail-out, get the funds and then bail-out! Declare bankruptcy and keep the $$$ to itself.
08:43 November 3, 2011 by zeddriver
To the Greek people. Be careful of what you ask for. Having your own currency is a good thing. But to change because of default is problematic. If the Greek people thought they have it rough now. If they default and change currency. Things will be far worse before ant improvement. Who is going to give them any credit to get things restarted?

It's sad to see a country with such a rich history suffering like this. But when the people of a country give the government total control over every aspect of their lives. Corruption and waist is often the result. And the politicians operate without fear of reprisal because most are dependent on the money those corrupt politicians hand out in exchange for votes.Just ask the Americans. We are headed in the same direction.
09:44 November 3, 2011 by PawD
What the EU leaders are doing is called 'Blackmail' in English language!
10:25 November 3, 2011 by Englishted
What does Greece think it is doing?

Democracy in the E.U. who has heard of such a thing !!!
10:32 November 3, 2011 by frankiep
How exactly is this blackmail? If Greece wants the money to prevent them from becoming bankrupt then they can have it under certain conditions, if not then they will have to face the consequences. Would you give such an outrageous amount of money to someone who refuses to agree to certain terms to use it wisely?
10:57 November 3, 2011 by freechoice
Why Greece is becoming more like a child? Running away from problems? Be a man!! Face your problems headon! With EU's help of course!
11:14 November 3, 2011 by jbaker
They need to let the banks and bankers fail. Since the majority of money is not backed up by gold,silver or any other precious metal or object for that matter, the money system we live in is false.

Time to put the books back to zero and then we are all equal. All people have to do is see and acknowledge this and the world money problems will be gone instantly.

The world monetary system has already failed, but very few people want to admit to it. One World Bank and One World Government will doom humanity into slavery to serve the few Elite slobs that control this world.

It is our choice. Time has just about run out!
11:24 November 3, 2011 by freechoice
Get rid of money!! Make those 1% crazy!! LOL!
11:41 November 3, 2011 by jg.
The Greeks are going to be poor, whether they accept the bail out or not. Merkozy et al. probably hoped that their Greek solution would give them the time (3 - 4 months?) to get substantially more funds into the EFSF and sort out arrangements with the IMF before the problems in Portugal and possibly, Italy and Spain come to a head. The Greek referendum leaves Merkozy with no solution to sell to the G20. However, I doubt that the other G20 leaders and the markets are so stupid as not to see the underlying reality (i.e. nobody in the EU has any money).
11:43 November 3, 2011 by melbournite
What does the EU expect? They push people to the point of utter desperation and fury and then expect there to be no price to pay. The Greek government is about to pay the price and the bankruptcy of Greece will quickly be followed by the bankruptcy of the EU.

The economy based on greed has run the end of its race. Time for a completely new system
12:19 November 3, 2011 by freechoice
Hurray! One less reason to be greedy in this world! Leaving 1% all stucked with shitloads of papers!!
13:19 November 3, 2011 by Sastry.M
While running for loan filling many formalities for purchase of a flat from a housing insurance corporation 21 yrs ago, the toils trickled a few lines privately from my pen:

God created man, and man created money

God's money is goodwill. and man's money is promissory note

Goodwill given to others is extended,and

Money given to others is expended.

American: In God we Trust

Englishman: God and the King

German: God be with us, and

WHO has wrested from God?
14:26 November 3, 2011 by SchwabHallRocks
The good news: Greece's birth rate is plunging and these misanthropes will be extinct soon enough.

The bad news: If Greece fails to repay its debts, the banks that loaned them the money can fail to (especially in France).

If I loan my brother 1,000 and expect him to pay me back next month, so I can make my mortgage payment next month, and my brother does not pay me back... who is in trouble? Same idea.
19:07 November 3, 2011 by Englishted
Hooray we have solved it .

Lets cancel the referendum, and finally kill off the stupid idea of democracy .

"He insisted that it was the "democratic right" of the Greeks to vote on the bailout plan "

So what was the threat or reward ?.

The day democracy died in Europe.
03:17 November 4, 2011 by lenny van
Let's all pull together and do tis thing. Why wait? Rome wasn't built in a day and we don't have anything to loose.

I was always told that democracy was a good thing. We should never loose sight of the fact that Greece is the cradle of democracy and, as such, deserves our patients.

A stiff upper lip by everybody will go a long way.
17:58 November 4, 2011 by PhoenixW2
On what basis are Merkel and Sarkozy issuing threats against Greece? They should be careful, it simply belies that the EU is a Franco/German project, funded by the other tag-along-too countries.

Greece suggests it's people be given a whiff of democracy by voting on the austerity package, and immediately this fact appears to jeopardise the entire euro currency and perhaps the EU itself. Wow! What a hopelessly unsustainable entity the eurocrats have created in the euro and EU if they can be so easily brought to their knees.
22:10 November 4, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Greece has to "vote" on whether or not they WANT to stay in the Euro zone? They are getting a total free ride while Germany and France supports their greed and corruption! What an insult! The question should be, does Germany and France actually want to KEEP Greece in their Eurozone. Greece is a terrible partner, and very selfish. They will drag everything down with it if Merkel and Sakorzy isn't careful.
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