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Greece may hold referendum on bailout agreement in December

The Greek Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening is continuing to send shockwaves across the Eurozone.

George Papandreou
George Papandreou
Image: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/Press Association Images

A GREEK GOVERNMENT minister has indicated that a planned referendum on its second bailout agreement could be brought forward to December in a move that would likely be welcomed by Eurozone members.

Reuters reports that the country’s interior minister Haris Kastanidis has told state television “there is a possibility to hold the referendum earlier” than the January date that had been expected, speculating that it could be in December.

He said it will depend on Eurozone countries working out the finer details of the bailout agreement which was agreed in principle last Thursday. That agreement was seen as a comprehensive solution to the debt crisis which has hit Greece and is of concern to the entire world economy.

But Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s announcement on Monday evening that his government would hold a referendum on the matter caused consternation in the markets yesterday.

The referendum is the first to be held in Greece since the 1970s but it came as a shock to many including the country’s own finance minister.

The Greek leader is today meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the G20 summit in Brussels which is likely to be dominated by the issue of Greece’s sovereign debt.

The Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan welcomed news that a referendum could be held before the year is out saying prolonging the situation would make it “ever more chaotic” and that if the referendum is held sooner “it helps in a small way.”

Of the possibility of the referendum being next month, Noonan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “That’s hopeful news. If we had to go on over Christmas and into the New Year waiting for the Greeks to make a decision it would make things even more chaotic.”

Greek crisis: EU leaders ratchet up pressure over controversial referendum >

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Hugh O'Connell

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