Friday, June 14, 2024
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World tells Europe to fix crisis

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ATHENS/CANNES: Greece’s government was on the brink of collapse on Thursday, casting doubt on plans for a referendum on staying in the euro, as European leaders talked for the first time of a possible Greek exit to preserve the single currency.

Beleaguered Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired an emergency cabinet meeting in Athens, with his finance minister and some Socialist lawmakers in revolt, after France and Germany gave Greeks an ultimatum to make up their minds.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Papandreou at a torrid meeting in Cannes on Wednesday night that Athens would not receive a cent more in aid until it votes to meet its commitments to the euro zone. Greece was due a vital 8 billion euros installment this month.

The political turmoil in Greece and uncertainty over the euro zone sent stocks and commodity prices lower in Asia, and fueled a rush into safe-haven German bonds.

But financial markets rallied in nervous trading as the likelihood grew that Greece would not hold the highly risky referendum.

The leaders of China, Russia and the United States pressed the Europeans to act swiftly to contain their sovereign debt crisis in comments before a summit of the Group of 20 major world economies in the French Riviera resort.

“Europe should aid itself, the European Union has everything for that today — the political authority, the financial resources and the backing of many countries,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said. A senior G20 official said the group was assessing the cost of a possible Greek default and looking at the implications if Athens were to leave the currency bloc. (Agencies)

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