Barroso says 'impossible to foresee' effect of Greek No vote
European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso warned Wednesday that the consequences of a rejection by Greeks of a debt rescue deal in a referendum are impossible to predict.
"Without the agreement of Greece to the EU-IMF programme, the conditions for Greek citizens would become much more painful, in particular for the most vulnerable. The consequences would be impossible to foresee," Barroso said as he arrived in Cannes ahead of crisis talks between European leaders and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Papandreou's shock announcement Monday of the referendum on the bailout deal plunged the eurozone back into crisis and sent the financial markets into a tailspin.
Papandreou is expected to face tough questions at a working dinner here Wednesday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU president Herman Van Rompuy, EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.
A French government source said Sarkozy and Merkel were set to deliver Wednesday a clear message to Papandreou -- that the referendum should be on whether Greece stays in or leaves the eurozone.
That would be the first time that France and Germany so explicitly raised the possibility of a country abandoning the euro, hitherto a taboo subject.
With the Greek government facing a tough confidence vote in parliament on Friday tied to the referendum, Barroso called on Greek politicians to show unity.
"That is why I call on the government and the political leaders of Greece to show that they are ready to work for national political unity and for achieving the broad support needed for the implementation of the (debt rescue) programme," he said.
"If this support was important yesterday, it is absolutely crucial today," he added.
© 2011 AFP