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Home arrow newsitems arrow Sarkozy Counsellor to EuroFora on Formula out of Papandreou Referendum scare in €uroarea

Sarkozy Counsellor to EuroFora on Formula out of Papandreou Referendum scare in €uroarea

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 02 November 2011

 20111102_18.11.07_400

*Cannes/G20 Summit/Angelo Marcopolo/- A 2011 G8-G20 Chairman, French President Sarkozy's  Counsellor, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed in principle with a formula apparently able to find a correct way out of the G.Papandreou's sudden, unwarned Referendum scare on a deal he negotiated alone with EU/IMF on Debt issues, which currently upsets €uroarea leaders and stock markets Worldwide, becoming a No 1 topical issue, to the point that "EuroFora"s analysis on the matter, (followed by our co-Founder since the original 1999-2000 Decisions for Greece's too early, unprepared entry to  €uroarea in exchange of  Turkey's lucrative but unpopular EU candidate status), interested mainstream Media for interviews even from Switzerland or Japan's cabled NHK TV newschannel, etc. :        

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An interesting Alternative, which might leave enough room for the strong Popular and Political Opposition in Greece against Giorgos Papandreou's policies, while also satisfying, at the same time, €uroZone's need for Financial Stabillity, emerged, indeed, in Cannes from a question/reply between "EuroFora" and an experienced Sarkozy's counsellor :


 - In fact, the October 27 agreemement at Brussels' €urozone's Summit, even as it had been negotiated by G. Papandreou alone, is limited only to an overalll Financial outline, sticking mainly on Amounts of Money and on a Timeline. But it had left all concrete questions on HOW EXACTLY Economies could be achieved by Greece, for an Action Programme due to be fixed a few weeks later.  


But this may be done with less or more Privatisations,  real Reduction of the number of State-controlled area's Employees, (f.ex. also in the context of an "Anti-Corruption" campaign  against  successive mainly PASOK Government's Nepotism's results : an overload of cushy job holders, many in counter productive posts, and several political lakeys, abusive and/or corrupted, most of whom have even become unPopular, to the point that an adequate purge would be felt by the People as a measure of Moral and Social Justice), instead of over-taxing Production, with the risk to provoke recession, and/or excessively restricting Poor People's economies, with the risk to provoke Popular Revolt, (see relevant, previous "EuroFora" NewsReports).     
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- Indeed, at least "in certain (key) points, we would go much further on Reforms", confirmed to "EuroFora" the Spokesman of the main Opposition party "New Democracy" (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), John Michelakis, on the sidelines of a recent EPP Summit in Brussels (+v. Photo, link Merkel Academy+).


"Eurofora" understands that this might include, f.ex. Privatisations, (a key issue, that f.ex. French President Sarkozy had chosen to note as a Decisive point for  €uroarea's recent decisions to help Greece for the efforts it was expected to make, already back on March 2011, while speaking to Journalists in Brussels, including to "EuroFora"); as well as the Crucial point of a drastic Reduction of cushy job holders and/or political lackeys in the State-controlled sectors, notoriously appointed mainly by previous Nepotist mainly PASOK Governments since the 1980s, ideally in the framework and according to criteria related to  Popular Anti-Corruption moves against abuses, (Comp. "'EuroFora"s main suggestions on the Debt Crrisis provoked in Greece, already published several times earlier, and on which, precisely, we questioned Michelakis).


In fact, ND appears concerned particularly on Productive Businesses' liberty and capacity to create Growth, and might be at least partially open to "Left" Parties' call against excessive restrictions of Poor People's savings, basic salaries, etc., while having in common also a large part of the "Anti-Corruption" Popular aspirations, as well as for the need to renovate Greece's political world.
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=> Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Sarkozy's Counsellor if he found that these 2 different aspects could be really distinguished and dissociated in practice, so that even if that overall Financial deal remained Stable, nevertheless, the Economic Action Plan might be Changed, if Different Political choices were Democratically made by the Greek People.


Initially rather surprised, but immediately considering that point, Sarkozy's Counsellor finally replied, Carefully but Positively to "EuroFora"s question, clearly agreeing that such an alternative could be shaped out of further negotiations, (at any case, already scheduled by the EU for the next few Weeks), if it was prepared adequately.                       
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- "A key Question, at this moment, is the following : If a Government in Greece, either this, or another one, respects the Financial Outline of the €uroarea deal brokered (by G.Papandreou) on October 27 in Brussels,  independently of what concrete Economic Policy Measures they might take inside the Country in order to attaign these aims, could it be OK", from the viewpoint of French President Sarkozy ?, "EuroFora" asked his counsellor, earlier today.

- "What is clear, is that commitments (made by the representative of a country, even if he/she changes afterwards) must be kept. But, naturally, we shall NOT  go beyond what was exactly agreed then", i.e. on the "Financial" overall aspects affecting its "Creditors", which were outlined on October 27 in Brussels, replied, among others, Sarkozy's Counsellor to "EuroFora"s above mentioned question.

+ "EuroFora" made it even more crystal-clear that our Question focused Not "on the Financial envelop and its Timetable" concerning the external Debt and EU/IMF's help in the form of a Loan, a "haircut" and Banks' "recapitalisation" deal, etc., "but only on the National Economic Policy Measures, that a Greek Government may take in order to become really able to respect those commitments, but on which there is a strong Disagreement among various opposed Political forces inside the Country, since other parties believe that it's better not to restrict excessively Business Productive forces, nor Poor People's Savings, but rather go Deeper in Privatisation and mainly State-controlled sector Reforms, (f.ex. by firing and/or otherwise sanctioning, many cushy job holders, political lackeys, and/or responsible for abuses or other Scandals, notoriously hired by previous Nepotist, mainly PASOK, Governments, during the 1980-2010 period, whose Salaries and Retirements cost a lot, while they are also being largely Unpopular. This could be done, f.ex., in the probable framework of an Anti-Corruption campaign throughout the Greek State, erc.?? , that many People feel necessary.


 - Indeed, "I think that the discussion (on Top Political level of Heads of State/Government and/or EU/IMF Ogranizations) on that (i.e. about other, national policy, issues) has not been yet closed", agreed Sarkozy's counselor in reply to "EuroFora"s clarification question No 2 (see supra).


- "What counts now, is for Greece to give a Guarantee that it will respect the commitments already made" on October 27, (i.e. the Financial and Timetable outlines). I.e., "what is clear is that €urozone's (Loan) Aid cannot start if the relevant commitments are not guaranteed". On the contrary, "It's Not about going Beyond what was already agreed",  he concluded.
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In fact, the crudle of the matter is that EU and the Stockmarkets need now from Greece to seriously and clearly confirm its will to do everything really necessary for its own and €urozone's Stability,  becoming really able to respect its main rules and principles in a way which succeeds to also develop the country's Economic potential.
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If the Greek People reject Papandreou's Referendum and stress their will for Reforms and Economies to the agreed financial volume of Debt Reduction, the 6th Funding part will be OK. Otherwise it will droped, unless they accept the precise deal that G. Papandreou negotiated alone with €uroZone leaders : That's what results, in practice, from a series of Statements made in Cannes from French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel, after meeting both with G.Papandreou and EU, €urozone, ECB and IMF Top Officials.
In addition to that, and more largely, Greece needs to find a serious and responsible, crystal clear way, to confirm its willingness to really assume the obligations of an €uroZone Member State.


If the Greek Parliament, or/and otherwise the Country's Constitutional system, rejects Giorgos Papandreou's controversial threat to put the deal that he negotiated alone with EU/IMF  into a Referendum, (of which he refuses stil to reveal the exact terms), and if Greece finds, with its own Democratic process, a serious and responsible Economic Policy way to meet the Financial deal brokered on October 27, then, it will be OK, from Sarkozy and Merkel's point of view.

20111102_23.38.00_400


In fact, Sarkozy and Merkel certainly have a strong will to defend the Euro, and therefore asked from Greece (and no more only from G. Papandreou alone) find a way to clarify soon its stance, preferably in a manner openly favorable to €uro's Stability and further development potential. I.e. including efforts, economies and structural changes necessary in order to tackle efficiently the issue of the big Debt provoked by economic Errors and dubious Poilitical Deals, (including Turkey's controversial and unpopular EU bid in exchange of Greece's early entry into €uroZone even before and without making the necessary reforms : See previous "EuroFora" NewsReports.


This results from an instructive and revelatory Comparison of both Papandreou's own statements in Cannes, shortly after a meeting with €uroZone, IMF and ECB, together with €uroarea Countries' leaders present on the sidelines of Cannes' G20 Summit, (Sarkozy, Merkel, Berlusconi, Zapatero, etc), closely followed by a joint, Sarkozy - Merkel's exceptional Press Conference suddenly anounced at late evening :
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No Referendum ?
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Replying to an interesting question by the French Agency AFP, who observed that they seem to consider that G.Papandreou's Referendum move would not, finally, be adopted by the Greek Parliament, German Chancellor said in substance that it all depends on the Greek People, and, in Democracies, even if sometimes we might seem to Delay a little bit important Decisions until Parliaments have decided, (as f.ex. it's since recently the case in Germany itself, after the Constitutional Court at Karlsruhe, near Strasbourg, judged that the Government must always consult the Bundestag's Budget Committee on Financial matters even concerning €uroZone Heads of State/Government Summits, provoking sometimes frustrating situations when fast decisions are needed)..


- But, at the end, we often succeed to find solutions able to attract People's adhesion and support to key, strategid policy decisions, Merkel underlined on this crucial point, on which Sarkozy appeared to share the same views with his German partner.


Indeed, as "EuroFora" had already noted and discussed with various interested collegues, f.ex. from Schwitzerland, Japan, France, etc., judging at least from yesterday night's internal debates in the Governing PASOK party in Greece, it wasn't obvious at all that G.Papandrepou might find any Majority at all in the Greek Parliament on his controversial Referendum unwarned move, since he had until recently only a 2 (two) votes advance (152 out of 300 MPs), while there were reportedly much more PASOK MPs who expressed either their Opposal or at least serious concern, criticizing openly that manouver.
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- G. Papandreou, speaking in English to the Foreign Press as "EuroFora" in Cannes, revealed that he asked, at his own initiative, Sarkozy and Merkel to help him obtain a large Majority in Greece on the precise Deal that he had negotiated alone with the EU and the IMF :  -  "I  informed them that we need to have a Large Consensus", he said.


But, objectively, it's also G.Papandreou's obvious incapacity to convince a large, cross-party Majority of MPs in Greece, at least until now, which was indirectly criticized by Sarkozy, when he observed that, on the contrary, in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, etc., despite some sovereign debt difficulties in the recent past, now things go much better, also because there seems to be a large agreement, between majority and opposition, at least on the main issues.

+ Moreover, the Mystery of G.Papandreou's real motivation, when he suddenly, at the Late Evening of October 31, he got out as a gun his  Referendum idea without any warning, more than 3 whole Days after the unprecedented October 28 popular demonstrations throughout the country, has not yet been elucidated. Experienced observers noted, however, that, objectively, these Dates coincide with UNO Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's exceptionaly intesive Talks on the thorny Cyprus' issue, all over the Week-end, at New York's Long Island, the outcome of which might perhaps have augmented G.Papandreou's fears for an even stronger Popular Reject of his policies, unless attention was diverted elsewhere...  

- Giorgos Papandreou appeared eager to stress, that, in his view, the Deal that he negotiated alone with the EU and IMF back on October 26 and 27 would be very good, so that it should be, ipso facto, automatically identified by anyone with Greece's "Obligations" in €uroZone, (which, in fact, depend from the Treaty and explicit decisions on basic Principles), so that PASOK's leader would find a way to say anew to the Greek People that "live up in our obligations, (as he qualified the deal that he had negotioated alone with the EU and IMF), is Crucial for our participation in €uroZone", i.e. threatening to kick out of €uroZone Greece if the Majority of Greek People didn't agree with the way in which Mr. Papandreou stroke alone that deal...
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Speaking in a surprise Press Conference togeher with German Chancelor Merkel this late Evening, Sarkozy made it clear from the outset that the Franco-German leaders' Statements and EU/IMF meetings at Cannes, before the G 20 Summit, became necessary "considering the situation provoked in Greece after (G. Papandreou's sudden) announcement of a Referendum", (See previous "EuroFora"s NewsReport from Cannes).


- "Therefore, we agreed on the following points", Sarkozy anounced, stressing that "we want a coordinated, firm and definitive European Response, which going through  the Implementation of the Decisions that we adopted in the October 27 Summit in Brussels, unanimously, between all the 17 €urozone Countries" :


1) "This application will be Accelerated, and, from tomorrow, the French and German Finance Ministers will meet together with EU Commissioner Oli Rehn in order to set up the EU Fund that we evoked on the October 27 Summit".


2) "We are always ready to help Greece, because Solidarity is at the foundations of the European Construction, as is also the principle of Loyalty. But this implies also that Greece, from its side, fullfils its commitments".


=> Thererore, "we clearly said to the Greek Authorities, both to the majority and to the opposition, that EU and IMF won't pay the 6th part of the Aid package to Greece before Greece accepts all that what was adopted (by €uroSummit) on October 27, and any uncertainty on the Referendum issue is lifted", Sarkozy warned.


+ Indeed, it's simply Natural that €uroZone can't pay the 6th part of the promissed Aide (by giving a Loan at objective Market prices for Greek State controlled employees' Salaries and Retirement, (many of whom notoriously go to cronies appointed by PASOk Governments during the last 30 Years and mainly since the 1980ies : See relevant Facts in earlier €uroFora's publications), unless Greece clearly accepts what was decided (with G. Papandreou alone at the €uroSummit of October 27), and drops any controversial Giorgos Papandreou's Referendum threat.
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Against Papandreou's "Referendum" manouver
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In fact, G.Papandreou's unwarned and unilater "Referendum" threat, curiously launched many Days after the October 27 Brussels' deal , (an obvious attempt to avoid Elections, since Polls give a clear advance to the main Opposition party "New Democracy), was strongly criticized by both Sarkozy and Merkel, as well as various other EU politicians, (See also yesterday's NewsReport)  :

- "Given the gravity of the situation, ... IF Referendum there is, we think that it should intervene the Soonest possible", because "it is clear that we can' stay in a prolonged situation of Uncertainty", provoked by G.Papandreou's U-turn, Sarkozy denounced. Thus, even if "the Principle of addressing (any question) to the People is always legitimate", nevertheless , in this concrete case"we appreciated the Statements made by (Greece's) Prime Minister indicating a possible Referendum at about 4 or 5 December" 2011, he noted, and "we launch a formal Appeal for a political agreement to be found in Greece FAST", he urged.


+ Moreover, "in substance", (i.e. also independetly of G. Papandreou's deal wth IMF/EU), "it's obvious that the question raised is that of Greece's European Future", and of its "willingness, or not, to stay inside €uroZone", the French President warned. "We wish that very much, and we shall do any effort to make that possible", Sarkozy ensured. "But it's up to the Greek People to reply to this question", and, "IF a Referendum might be organized, it should pronounce itself also on this question", he warned G.Papandreou who suddenly threatened to put the EU-deal he negotiated last Monh on a Referendum, without any previous warning to his partners).


- It's "in a particularly serious situation", and "fully aware of its Gravity", that "we discussed with the European Institutions and the Greek Prime Minister", (PASOK's G.Papandreou) who took "that Unilateral decision", criticized German Chancellor Angie Merkel, (herself also ommitting to cite "G.Papandreou"s name, as Sarkozy has already done), "provoked by the fact that a Referendum was anounced in Greece", which "transformed the Psychological situation (that existed) since the October 27 Decisions" (on the EU Loan at Brussels' €uroSummit), denounced also Germany's Chancellor Merkel.


-=> That's why, all "the Decisions taken on October 27 must be applied in an Accelerated way", starting, already, by "Discussions on this matter on the sidelines of the G20" Summit at Cannes, concerning, in particular, the possibility to set up this (Financial) "Firewall", or Protective Wall", for all €urozone, where "we must elaborate rapidly various Options". Therefore, after the Franco-German Finance Ministers meet with EU Commissioner Rehn here, the entire "€uroGroup will meet on Monday", she anounced.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
+ "2nd point, on Greece, we want her to stay in €uroZone, but, because of that Unilateral Decision", "taken by the Greek Prime Minister  (PASOK's G.Papandreou) without consulting anyone" in €urozone about a Referendum risking to practically cancel an earlier Agreement "we clearly say that the 6th part (of EU aid to Greece) won't be paid until Greece accepts all the October 27 Decisions", and all Doubts are lifted concerning the anounced Referendum's outcome : In other words, if that Referendum is translated by a Positif Vote for the €uro", warned Merkel.


- "IF a Referendum takes place, we indicated that it might be done at the Beginning of December", and, "at the heart of the matter, will be the Question to know if Greece wishes, or not, to remain an €uroarea's Member", "the Prime Minister  indicated that this could be done on December 5", after, "naturally, all that is to be discussed in Greece", where "we hope that this will be agreed by all political forces".


- "The Aim of all these Discussions, and the reason for which we are in front of you today", (unexpectedly at the Eve of the G20 Summit), stressed Merkel to Journaliss in Cannes including "EuroFora", "is that the €uro must remain Stable. We want to reach that aim preferably with Greece, rather than without her, but our Primordial Task is to keep €uro as a Stable Currency. That's our 1st Duty", concluded the German Chancellor.


- Because "we are very much Determined to overcome €uro's Debt Crisis. I.e. we want to return back to a Healthy Budget Management. No Country in €urozone ever had the kind of Budgetary rigour which will become ours in Future". F.ex., "that's why we have agreed to set up Golden Rules (or "Debt Brakes") in our Constitutions, and we hope that the Opposition will join this idea, in all (Member) Countries".


- "That's our Duty, our Mission, because we Believe in Europe, we believe in our Continent, we believe that we have a Political Regime which is Good for the People : Press Freedom, Freedom of Opinion, Liberty of Vote, (etc). But, we also know that we are not alone in this World, confronted to Competitors, against whom we want to Succeed. That's why we are Fighting, and that's what we said that very clearly, and I think that we're going  to Win", firmly stressed Merkel.


+ "We do Not want to let anyone Destroy the €uro, and we do not want to let Destroy Europe. In this largely Unstable situation of the World, we have decided a number of Rules. These Rules apply to each one of us. We wish to advance inside €urozone and the EU with our Greek Friends : We did everything for that, absolutely everything, but there are Rules at the Foundations of the (EU) Stability Pact. It's up to the Greeks, and them alone, that it belongs, now, to decide if they wish to continue the adventure with us, or not. But the Rules of Good Management with which we have equiped us, the Trust that €uro and Europe must inspire, are absolutely Fundamental elements, Principles, a European commitment", that "we have to defend", the German Channcellor underlined strongly.
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Doubts about the "Referendum" : A G. Papandreou's Bluff ?
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    Considering the Conditional, Hypothetic way in which both Sarkozy and Merkel chose to speak on G. Papandreou's sudden, uniliateral and unwarned anouncement of the intention of his party, PASOK, to put into a Referendum the Deal that he negotiated wth EU/IMF on October, Journalists, very logically, asked the EU Leaders if they really believe that Greece might effectively do any such Referendum, or not ? - "Do you wish that, or not, and are you absolutely sure that this is going to really happen, or not ?", they asked Sarkozy and Merkel.


    - "It's not for us to decide if there will be a Referendum, or not... We simply say that we can't engage the EU Taxpayers' Money... but only when certain Rules, which were Unanimously Voted at the October 27 Brussels' Summit are respected. If these Rules are not respected, neither Europe, nor the IMF won't be able to pay not even a dime".. "So, we are not asking anything at all. We simply say : Here are the Rules adopted by all 17" €uroarea Countries. "If anyone among these Countries might wish to exonerate itself from these Rules, it's his absolute Right, but the Decision must be taken in full Clarity : For us, .. we all want to advance together with the Greeks. But there are rules, and we can't accept that they might not be respected", replied Sarkozy.


    - "Each time that, in the Past, Europe accepted to make Exceptions with its Rules, it might have crossed a stage, but it compromised its Future", he stressed, making an indirect but obvious Critical reference to the Politico-Financial Deal notoriously made on 1999-2000 by former "Socialist" leaders of Germany Shroeder/Fischer), France (Jospin), UK (Blair), Italy (Alema), Greece (PASOK's Semitis, etc), to accept Greece earlier than normal in €urozone,  even before doing necessary Reforms to eliminate Structural Causes provoking Debt, (so that a PASOK's Government could snatch April 2000 Elections, staying in power for 4 Years more, with less than 1% of votes' difference), in exchange of the acceptance of Turkey's controversial and unpopular EU bid, with the lucrative status of EU "Candidate", even if it didn't meet the EU Criteria on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law respect, European identity/Culture, Military threats against the Aegean Sean, illegal Military Occupation of part of Cyprus, non-recognition of Armenian Genocide, etc. Both moves costed, later-on, too much to Europe, after provoking first a Political/Institutional (since 1999-2004 unprecedented Majority Abstentions in EU Elections, and 2005-2007 three "No" to EuroReferenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland), and afterwards even  a Financial Crisis (since 2009)...


    - "Europe is too important for anyone to play (irresponsibly) with the Rules that we have decided amidst the Unstable World of today", he warned.


    + "Today, it seems that there might be a Referendum : .. Tonight, I base my sayings on what told us the Prime Minister from Greece and his Finance Minister", simply but Carefully, added Merkel. - "IF there won't be any Referendum at all, it's up to the (Greek) Parliament to decide", she pointed out.


    - "If (National) Parliaments want to have a say, in a Democracy, if Peoples' want to express their views, that's part and parcel of our Societies and we will never renounce on that. Merely In the name of a "merely Fast-track Decision we aren't going to renounce to the Principle of Democracy.... Then, sometimes, people complain that it might durate a little bit longer, but we say to our Friends around the World, that, yes, sometimes it might take a little bit longer, (as, f.ex. the German Constitutional Court recently asked the Berlin Government to always consult the Bundestag for any EU Decision which might affect the National Budget, sometimes frustrating EU Summits in Brussels, accustomed to Fast Diplomati Moves and Deals even at the last minute..


But Merkel's rather enigmatic observations on this point might also be due to the fact that G. Papandreou doesn't seem to have the required Majority in the Greek Parliament for his controversial Referendum, since, as it was reportedly revealed during late last Night's debates in Athens, many MPs disagree, even inside his own Party !..                                                                                                                                                            
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Sarkozy : - "For the rest.... "
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As far as our main Headline News are concerned here, (i.e. the possibility, or not, to Distinguish between the Lending, Financial deal already decided at Brussels'  EU Summit on October 27, and the Economic Policy Measures, which had been notoriously left for afterwards (See f.e. EU Parliament biggest Group's President, MEP Joseph Daul, head of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, statements to "EuroFora", etc), at lot of issues concerning Greece's Action Plan (which usually accompagnies the Financial, Loan deal) was, precisely, going to be left for later-on, probably up to early December, (see last week's relevant "EuroFora" News), an observation made today by Sarkozy appears rather interesting :

- "We have nothing to ask to the Greek Parliament, which is Free to manage its business...... We simply say that the EU Taxpayers' Money cannot be engaged before certain.. rules which had been unanimously voted in Brussels on Occtober 27, are respected. (i.e. about the Loans and the Debt). .. For the Rest, we don't have any advise to give. We don't have any instruction to give. The Greek Peuple is an independent People, a very great Civilisation, and we trust him to decide on the choices concerning its Future. As fart as we are concerned, we let him Free to take his Decisions", stressed the 2011 G8-G20 Chairman and French President, using a wording which fits well our Formula (See supra).


    + As for German Chancellor Angie Merkel, she prefered to conclude by stressing mainly the need for Europe to strengthen its "Competitiveness", in order to ensure that it will be able to face more and more Competitors in a Globalized World.


    .. I.e. a wording which also fits rather well Greek main Opposition's vocabulary in favor of Businesses economioc productivity and efficiency, much more than that of clientelist, nepotist PASOK's past.. (Comp. some key concrete Facts, supra).

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