European leaders at the G20 Summit in Cannes have become increasingly frustrated with Greece’s recent decision to hold a referendum vote to determine whether Greece will remain a member of the European Union.
On Wednesday French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a joint conference in Cannes France and gave Greece an ultimatum to accept the new EU bailout debt package with its austerity strings attached or else exit the European Union.
“The referendum in essence is about nothing else but the question, does Greece want to stay in the eurozone, yes or no?” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the news conference.
Greece was expecting to receive an 8 Billion loan installment payment in November but Europe’s leaders have put that payment on hold until after the referendum vote in early December.
Greek anger over their loss of sovereignty
A new New York Times article “Greek Anger on Debt Agreement is Focused Especially on Germany” from October 28th by Rachel Donadio describes how a sizeable number of Greeks are upset about their loss of sovereignty due to Greece’s membership in the European Union.
However, recent polls indicate that the majority of Greeks want Greece to remain in the European Union.
Will the majority of Greeks settle for continued austerity measures contained within the new EU bailout package and remain a member of the European Union or will they leave the European Union and determine their own future?
On Friday in Athens the Greek Parliament will hold a confidence vote that brings into focus the issue about whether Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Socialist Party will remain in power.
Greek Finance Minister Venizelos recently arrived in Cannes in the early hours of Thursday morning and he offered a completely different message from Prime Minister Papandreou. He said that inclusion of Greece in the European Union does not depend on a referendum vote and claimed that the 8 billion loan installment payment from the European Union should be dispersed without delay.
While the Greek drama plays out in Cannes and Athens over the next couple of days, the world awaits an answer from Greece about where the county is headed.