NEWS

Papandreou?s bailout ultimatum recounted

Former French Finance Minister Francois Baroin has revealed how in November 2011 the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel told ex-Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that the Greek bailout would be scrapped if he went ahead with plans to hold a referendum on the austerity package demanded by the country?s lenders.

In extracts from his upcoming book, ?Black Swan,? Baroin revealed that he held talks with three advisers to assess the impact of a Greek exit. ?It was a discussion without documentation, without any trace,? he said in extracts published by L?Express magazine. ?The nonofficial meeting was only about working hypotheses.? Baroin added that a Greek exit would inevitably lead to France having to leave the eurozone.

He called the meeting following the G8 summit in Cannes that month, where Papandreou was told in no uncertain terms by Merkel and Sarkozy that he could not hold a referendum on the austerity measures.

Baroin describes how Papandreou gave in to their demands and announced that the referendum would be on euro membership, not the bailout terms.

?Papandreou sweats more, jumbles his words, then collapses. Cornered, he has no choice but to vote in favor of the euro or not. I attend his political death live.?