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Papandreou announces surprise referendum on bailout and restructuring deal; Greek opposition party: Papandreou “flipping EU membership like a coin into the air”Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told a meeting of MPs from his party yesterday that the country would hold a referendum on the EU and IMF rescue package agreed last week. Papandreou said, “Citizens will be called on to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the agreement. It is not for others to decide but the Greek people to decide…We have faith in the people. We believe in democratic participation. We are not afraid of it.” The Guardian reports that Greek Interior Minister Haris Kastinidis said that the vote would most likely take place in January. Die Welt reports that, according to Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the referendum should only be held once the details of the deal have been negotiated. However, Handelsblatt notes that if Papandreou loses a vote of confidence scheduled for Friday, it might not even come to a referendum as there would be new elections and the prospect of an uncontrolled default would increase due to the resulting uncertainty.
Le Monde journalist Arnaud Leparmentier writes on his blog that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was “dismayed” by the announcement and quotes a source close to Sarkozy saying, “The Greeks’ gesture is irrational and, from their point of view, dangerous.” The German government refused to comment on “internal political developments in Greece.” However, FDP parliamentary leader Rainer Brüderle said he was “irritated” by the announcement and accused the Greek government of trying to “wriggle out” of the deal that had been agreed. Meanwhile, Greek centre-right opposition party New Democracy accused Papandreou of “flipping Greece’s EU membership like a coin into the air.”
FT Deutschland‘s Deputy Editor Sven Clausen writes that although the Greek referendum is “a highly risky undertaking, it is nonetheless correct…the debt crisis can only by resolved by those who can credibly demonstrate that they want to reduce the debt permanently, which requires a political mandate from the sovereign, which in Europe’s case means from the people.” Clausen concludes, “Greece has lost a lot in these last few months, it has however preserved its great democratic tradition.”
The announcement caused new uncertainty in the financial markets as investors fear that Greek voters could derail the bailout plan. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel is quoted by the Guardian arguing, “If the Greek public vote no in the referendum Greece could be left with no funds and no government, teetering on the edge of a disorderly default and a disorderly exit from the eurozone. It is only fair that the Greek people have their say, but the eurozone must begin preparing for a no vote and specifically how to handle a rudderless and broke Greece, which would probably include plans for allowing it to exit the euro.” Raoul is also quoted in City AM and by MSNBC. Zerohedge features Open Europe’s analysis of the Greek referendum.
Meanwhile, Italy’s borrowing costs continue to rise, with the interest rate on 10-year bonds reaching 6.2% this morning despite yesterday’s purchase of Italian debt by the ECB, reports Il Corriere della Sera. The interest rate on Spain’s 10-year bonds is at 5.6%, reports Expansión. Separately, the FT reports that the eurozone’s bailout fund, the EFSF, faces “lacklustre demand” for its planned bond issue this week designed to finance Ireland’s bail-out.
Guardian Times Times 2 Times 3 FT FT 2 FT 3 FT 4 CityAM CityAM 2 WSJ Mail European Voice MSNBC Conservative Home Irish Times Irish Times 2 BBC BBC 2 BBC: Hewitt Welt FAZ FTD FTD 2 FTD 3 Handelsblatt Handelsblatt 2 Reuters Elsevier NRC Standaard Le Figaro Le Figaro 2 Coulisses de Bruxelles EUobserver Les Echos Le Monde El País El País 2 Expansión Le Monde blogs: Leparmentier Les Echos 2 Corriere della Sera Corriere della Sera 2 WSJ FT 5 Telegraph FT 6 City AM 3 Expansión: Rivero and Tejo IHT: Vinocur IHT: Taylor Le Figaro: de Kerdrel Il Sole 24 Ore: Napoletano Corriere della Sera: Galli della Loggia FT: Buiter FT: Amato & Ghizzoni FT Editorial FT: Yongding FT: Jenkins FT: Rachman Le Monde: Gougeon Handelsblatt FTD: Clausen Zerohedge
Open Europe’s Director Mats Persson appeared on the BBC World Service’s World Business Report yesterday, discussing the tenure of outgoing ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet.
BBC World Service
Svenska Dagbladet reports that the Swedish Parliament’s Constitutional Committee has expressed fears that a renegotiation at the EU level of the Data Retention Directive could adversely affect personal privacy. The Committee argued that it viewed “with concern the [European] Commission’s plans to strive for increased harmonisation…We risk raising the bar for the time data is stored and why it is stored.”
SvD IDG Xbiz.com
In an interview with Les Echos, the Chairman of EU financial markets watchdog ESMA, Steven Maijoor, said that he expects the Authority to conduct on-the-spot inspections in all the big credit rating agencies “by the end of the year,” with a view to publishing a report around 1 April 2012.
Les Echos: Maijoor
In an internal document seen by City AM, the UK Treasury has criticised the EU for attempting to water down international capital requirements for banks in its draft Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) IV.
City AM City AM: Samuel
La Tribune reports that Iceland’s Supreme Court has ruled that the Icelandic bank Icesave, which went bankrupt in 2008, will have to repay 340,000 European customers, the majority of whom are British or Dutch.
This post originally appeared on Open Europe.