Following the international uncertainty created by George Papandreou’s announcement of a referendum, the Troika have announced that the 6th instalment, which was to be paid this month, will not be released.
As quoted by Reuters today:
EU and IMF board sources said Greece would not receive an urgently needed 8 billion euro aid installment, due this month, until after the vote because official creditors wanted to be sure Athens would stick to its austerity program.
Sarkozy has said Papandreou's announcement of a referendum "took the whole of Europe by surprise" and his prime minister, Francois Fillon, told parliament: "Europe cannot be kept waiting for weeks for the outcome of the referendum.
"The Greeks must say quickly and without ambiguity whether they choose to keep their place in the euro zone or not."
As difficult as it will be for the thousands of pensioners and public servants who will not be paid this month, I believe this is the right decision. I believe it is also correct for the remaining European Union member states to question whether Greece should actually stay in the EU or not. The apparently unilateral decision to announce a referendum at this late stage, after a difficult negotiation and agreement last week, is an act of irresponsibility and madness.
Unfortunately, it will not only be Mr. Papandreou that suffers the consequences, but an entire country. And what consequences will Mr. Papandreou actually suffer?
The meeting in Cannes starts in a bit. Stay tuned.
© Philip Ammerman, 2011