Greece 'endangering euro': EU commissioner

2nd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The decision of Greece's prime minister to put its EU bailout to a referendum has "endangered" the single currency, the bloc's energy commissioner said on Wednesday.

"The situation is difficult enough and now we are losing at least three months to save the euro," Guenther Oettinger told German daily Die Welt.

The deal struck by EU leaders to slash Greek debt by 50 percent "is good for Greece," added the official.

"Of course a referendum is above all a Greek political matter. But it contains large risks for Europe."

Asked his view on George Papandreou's actions, Oettinger said: "Subjectively, I can partly understand what he is doing. Objectively, he is putting the euro in even greater danger."

Earlier on Wednesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he was confident the Greeks would not vote against the EU debt deal in the upcoming referendum announced at the start of this week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have summoned Papandreou to a meeting on Wednesday, on the eve of the opening of the G20 summit in Cannes.

In Paris, the head of the World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy told France Inter radio that his contacts in Greece told him that Greeks might well vote in favour of the debt rescue in the referendum. But he also said that a break-up of the eurozone could not be ruled out totally.

© 2011 AFP

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