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In full: Greek finance minister's extraordinary rebuke of PM

Evangelos Venizelos issued an extrordinary public letter just before 5am this morning.

George Papandreou and Evangelos Venizelos
George Papandreou and Evangelos Venizelos
Image: Press Association Images

WITH GREECE TEETERING on the brink and the proposed referendum on its second bailout reportedly scrapped, it could probably do with some unity at the very highest levels of government.

Unfortunately that isn’t the case and it was underlined by an extraordinary public letter that the country’s finance ministry published this morning.

Written by its Minister of Finance Evangelos Venizelos, he said amongst other things that he would not be supporting the referendum.

The letter was released upon Venizelos’s arrival at the G20 summit in Cannes just before 5am this morning.

Apparently he arrived straight from the hospital where he was admitted earlier this week not long after learning of Papendrou’s plans for a referendum. That referendum has now been scrapped according to the latest reports on AP.

Nonetheless the letter is an extraordinary rebuke by the Finance Minister who is also Papandreou’s deputy:

Greece’s position within the euro area is a historic conquest of the country that cannot be put in doubt. This acquis by the Greek people cannot depend on a referendum.

The country must feel safe and stable and that is the first requirement in order for it to be truly safe and stable. Greek banks are totally secure, as an integral part of the European banking system. This was apparent last night from the discussion in Cannes.

What is important is for the sixth tranche to be disbursed, without any distractions or delay, according to the decisions of Eurogroup of October 26, which came as a result of 10 hours of hard negotiations.

The next step is to activate, before the end of the year, the new support programme that provides Greece with an additional 130 billion euro and leads to a reduction of Greek sovereign debt of about 100 billion euro. The completion of these processes is a national project.

I traveled to Cannes right after being discharged from the hospital because I think that this was my national duty. Having an immediate picture of the situation in Europe and around the world, I have a duty to tell the Greek people the full and simple truth:

If we want to protect the country we must, under conditions of national unity and political seriousness and consensus, implement without any delay the decision of October 26. Now, as soon as possible.

However, what the Government and the parliamentary majority do alone is not enough towards this goal. What is being done and said on a European and international level concerns equally the opposition, especially New Democracy, the main opposition party, which has been conveyed the same strong messages from Cannes and the position of which, were it positive, would act as a guarantee for the country’s international credibility, whereas when it has been negative, it has damaged severely this credibility at a serious cost for Greek citizens.

Internal political balances and the future of individuals and political parties of this country is not what matters. What matters is to save and recover the country through the only doable process which is included in the decision of October 26

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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