Thursday, November 03, 2011

Greek crisis (UPDATED)

Update: This is how fast this thing is moving right now. Just minutes after I posted this, I see an AP report that Prime Minister Papandreou has agreed not to hold a referendum on the EU economic suicide package for Greece.
Greek government teeters on brink of collapse YouTube date 11/03/2011

by Thrasy Petropoulos and Damian Mac Con Uladh of Athens News have a Live news blog on unfolding events on the Greek crisis. Their introduction for Nov. 3 is:

With Europe openly contemplating a future without Greece in the eurozone, a chastened George Papandreou returned from his meeting with Sarkozy and Merkel on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Cannes facing domestic turmoil. His European counterparts made it clear that a referendum – if there is even to be one – can only be on the subject of whether Greeks want to stay in the eurozone or not, and that the vote must happen by December 10, with December 4 being touted as the most likely date. Long before that, however, Papandreou looks unlikely to win a vote of confidence in parliament scheduled for Friday night. A growing number of his own MPs are demanding the formation of national unity government.
Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou just gave a speech that might lead one to think he still has some trace of actual democratic principles left, which puts Greece in the image of Christ on the way to Calvary:

"We are bearing a cross and on top of that, they are throwing stones at us."

"We had three alternatives - the first, a catastrophic one, was to call early elections....the other alternative was the referendum...and the third solution was to achieve a wider consensus."

"Apart from the tone and the content of our (euro zone) partners... when they told us how to conduct our referendum, we were very clear it was a decision of a sovereign government. We may be under economic supervision but democratic institutions are ours."

"Why did the referendum create a surprise? Other government members and I had said that what was at stake was our membership in the euro. When we were saying this, they were calling us blackmailers. Yesterday there was confirmation of all that we were saying." [my emphasis]
But an hour before, he was suggesting that if his PASOK government could come to agreement with the conservative opposition New Democratic Party (ND) to support the latest EU austerity sentence package for Greece, the referendum might not have to be held. This would suggest that his decision to hold a referendum may have been primarily a desperate tactic to browbeat ND into supporting the package to save the European banks while impoverishing the Greek people, rather than a solemn commitment to democratic legitimacy for the economic suicide pact that the EU proposal represents for Greece.


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