Tuesday December 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
13o C
8o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Barroso urged Samaras and Venizelos to block Papandreou's referendum, reports FT

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso spoke to Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos in private in November 2011 and encouraged them to block George Papandreou’s proposal for a referendum on Greece’s euro membership, a Financial Times report claimed on Monday.

The article, written by Brussels-based journalist Peter Spiegel, describes how the eurozone crisis came to a head in late 2011 after Papandreou, then Greece’s prime minister, proposed a referendum on whether Greeks were prepared to accept their bailout terms.

Spiegel describes how Papandreou came under pressure from then French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to abandon the idea or to at least make euro membership the subject of the referendum.

One of Sarkozy’s aides said the French president went “ballistic” when he heard Papandreou’s plans but was advised that he could not prevent the Greek leader from holding the plebiscite because it would be Gaullist traditions.

Instead, Sarkozy and Merkel decided to invite Papandreou to the G20 summit in Cannes at the beginning of November to persuade him to hold a referendum on whether Greece should remain in the euro.

“Mr Sarkozy summoned his fellow leaders to the Palais at 5.30pm on Wednesday, an hour before they were due to meet Mr Papandreou, to agree on how to confront him,” reports the Financial Times. “Those invited included Ms Merkel; Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister who chaired the eurogroup of finance ministers; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; and the EU’s two presidents, José Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy.”

At the meeting a six-point plan was agreed and then presented to Papandreou. “The idea was to put Papandreou against the wall, in the corner,” one of the people in the room told Spiegel.

Papandreou described Sarkozy as “ranting and raving” about the referendum.

“The position of Sarkozy was very offensive,” Venizelos, who was then finance minister and accompanied Papandreou to the meeting, told the FT journalist. “It was not polite. Very, very strong and very offensive, in order to put Greece in a dilemma: in or out.”

Merkel backed Sarkozy and Papandreou left the meeting to announce to reporters that the vote would be on whether Greece would remain in the euro.

According to the report, Barroso spoke to Venizelos in private after the meeting and impressed upon him that the referendum should not take place because it could severely dent confidence in the eurozone,

“We have to kill this referendum,” Barroso is reported as saying. Venizelos agreed.

Earlier the European Commission president reportedly spoke to Samaras, then New Democracy leader, and shared this though with him. As opposition leader, New Democracy had followed a staunch anti-austerity line and attacked Papandreou and PASOK for signing the bailout.

Samaras, however, became worried that a referendum would put him in a difficult position as he would have to side with Papandreou. The opposition leader, therefore, told Barroso that he would be willing to join an emergency government to prevent the vote taking place.

“Mr Barroso summoned his cabinet and other commission staff to his suite at the art deco Hotel Majestic Barrière to plot strategy,” reports the Financial Times.

“He decided he would not tell Mr Sarkozy or Ms Merkel of the conversation but according to people in the room, they began discussing names of possible technocrats to take over from Mr Papandreou in a national unity government. The first person to come to Mr Barroso’s lips was Lucas Papademos, the Greek economist who had left his post as vice-president of the ECB a year earlier. Within a week, Mr Papademos would have the job.”

On the flight back to Athens, Venizelos penned a statement opposing the idea of a referendum and then went to hospital with stomach problems. Within days Papandreou had stepped down as prime minister and Papademos was installed as the head of a three-party interim government including New Democracy.

ekathimerini.com , Monday May 12, 2014 (15:05)  
Gov´t seeks better result in second presidential vote as bribe claim probe shelved
Civil servants to grade evaluation scheme
Police collar fraudsters who conned money out of jobless
Bill aims to close down landfills, curb EU fines
October data show fleeing bondholders
October data compiled by the Bank of Greece confirm that foreign investors are letting go of their Greek bonds, as within just one month the country’s central bank recorded an outflow of 1.7...
Expired debts to the state soar to more than 72 bln euros
Households’ inability to keep up with their tax payments combined with anticipation of the new repayment plans, which were finally announced a few weeks ago, led to expired debts to the stat...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Special day for Abidal, lucky one for PAOK
PAOK scraped through its Livadia challenge beating Levadiakos to remain on top of the Super League for Christmas, one point ahead of Olympiakos that enjoyed a great game at Kalloni and offer...
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
Inside Sports
INTERVIEW
Klaus Regling stresses debt sustainability through commitment to reforms
BRUSSELS – The man who is responsible for the loans to Greece as managing director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM/EFSF), Klaus Regling, is the only high-ranking European official w...
INTERVIEW
‘Crisis of confidence will come back again and again,’ says Thomas Piketty
He’s treated like a rock star wherever he goes to lecture. His book “Capital in the 21st Century,” a study on income and wealth inequality from the 18th century to the present, recently tran...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. October data show fleeing bondholders
2. Expired debts to the state soar to more than 72 bln euros
3. First four contracts to fund small firms signed by IfG and banks
4. Investors putting plans on hold
5. Gov´t seeks better result in second presidential vote as bribe claim probe shelved
6. Civil servants to grade evaluation scheme
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek parliament vote in balance after Samaras election offer
2. Euro shaky on ECB and Greece, dollar keeps edge
3. Prosecutor gathers depositions in Independent Greeks 'bribe' probe
4. Government accuses SYRIZA and Independent Greeks of 'clear alliance'
5. Klaus Regling stresses debt sustainability through commitment to reforms
6. Draghi starts squaring QE circle in month of persuasion for ECB
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. High stakes
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. On the edge but not gutless
5. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
6. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.