George Papandreou just finished his speech to the Parliamentary Group of PASOK. It’s the first time I’ve seen a speech which tool more than 30 minutes before the first applause. There was not much new in the speech. One point is that he was extremely unhappy with the attitude of France, Germany and others, who insisted on dictating what the Greek referendum should be about. Papandreou mentioned that his original idea for the referendum was to ratify the October 26th Agreement.
Another, jarring point was a comment delivered towards the end. In reference to his proposal for a referendum was that he was pleased that this proposal created a “δημιουργησαε ενα θετικο, εβεργετικό σοκ” – ‘Created a positive, beneficial shock”. If this was a beneficial shock, I’d hate to see what a negative shock would be.
Anna Diamantopoulou, who asked the first and only question, asked what would happen next. She mentioned that the Cabinet meeting discussed a government of national unity government, but that there was no mention of this in his speech. George Papandreou then gave the floor to the Minister of Finance, Evangelos Venizelos, who outlined 10 steps to emerge from the crisis:
1. To assure partners of what we will do to implement the conditions of the October 26th Agreement, in specific terms.
2. To cancel the proposed referendum
3. To demonstrate to our partners that for the first time there is a political understanding on cooperation for October 26th steps. If there is a political cooperation with the opposition, then there is no need for a referendum.
4. To take steps to preserve the financial and banking system – that deposits are insured, that liquidity for capital is available.
5. Tomorrow night, the vote of confidence for the government should be taken in light of a government equal to the circumstances. This includes the inclusion of other people in the government.
6. To assure the disbursement of the 6th instalment of EUR 8 billion from the first bailout package.
7. To immediately begin negotiations with the Troika on the final structure and scope of the second bail-out package of EUR 130 billion. This must be passed with 180 votes in Parliament.
8. To structure the legal and financial framework for the private sector involvement of 50%.
9. To agree on a specific timeline and complete the implementation plans for the second bail-out and the 50% PSI involvement.
10. There needs to be approval by the Greek people. It is uncertain whether this refers to a referendum or to elections.
There has been no specific announcement until now of the structure of a government of national unity or of the role Mr. Papandreou will play in it.
© Philip Ammerman, 2011