CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Greek referendum deepens euro zone crisis

11-02-2011 07:50 BJT

ATHENS - The leaders of France and Germany scrambled on Tuesday to limit damage after Prime Minister George Papandreou decided to let Greeks vote on a bailout package - a move that stunned markets and threw Greece's euro zone membership into question.

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou briefs the media after a meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels in this October 13, 2011 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

European politicians complained Athens was trying to wriggle out of the 130 billion-euro rescue deal agreed at a summit only last week, concerned not so much about the fate of Greece as the possibly dire consequences for the entire currency union of the referendum.

Ireland, which itself took a bailout, attacked Papandreou's idea.

"The summit last week was to deal with the uncertainty in the euro zone...and this grenade is thrown in just a few short days later," European affairs minister Lucinda Creighton said.

"Legitimately there is going to be a lot of annoyance about it," she told Reuters.

The Greek opposition demanded a snap election and financial markets, which had calmed down after euro zone leaders agreed the second Greek bailout, took Papandreou's bombshell badly.

Shares in banks dived, investors fled to the safety of German bonds and Italian borrowing costs climbed despite European Central Bank action. Investors speculated that Italy might follow a similar path.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will call German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, his office said, while emotions ran high in Greece itself about the referendum idea.

"They must be crazy... this is no way to run a country," said the senior executive of one of Greece's biggest firms, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One senior German parliamentarian suggested the euro zone might cast Athens adrift, cutting off its aid lifeline and allowing the nation to default on its huge debts.

"This sounds to me like someone is trying to wriggle out of what was agreed - a strange thing to do," said Rainer Bruederle, a leader in Merkel's coalition.

Bruederle, parliamentary floor leader for the Free Democrats and a former German economy minister, said he was irritated by Papandreou's announcement.

Europe would have to consider turning off the flow of money which is keeping Greece afloat, he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

"One can only do one thing: make the preparations for the eventuality that there is a state insolvency in Greece and if it doesn't fulfil the agreements, then the point will have been reached where the money is turned off," he said.

Others were stunned by Papandreou's apparent bolt from the blue on Monday on the plan, which includes a 50-percent write-down on Greece's debts but has unleashed fury among Greeks due to its price - yet more austerity.

But they also urged caution as the exact question to be put to the Greek people and the date for the vote remains unknown. EU officials had yet to be officially notified of the poll.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: China Daily

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program