The upcoming G20 summit in Cannes could still reach a decision to resolve the Greek debt crisis threatening the eurozone and global economy, despite jitters over a Greek referendum on a key aspect of the plan, Greek MP Elena Panaritis says.
As European leaders gathered in France on Wednesday for a meeting billed as an opportunity to outline a comprehensive strategy to tackle the crisis, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's surprise decision this week to hold a referendum on the fresh EU aid package to the debt-ridden country has fuelled anxiety over the outcome.
Amid fears of a negative result and a Greek default that would rock the eurozone, Panaritis, a ruling socialist PASOK deputy and economist, expressed in an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday confidence that leaders in Cannes will reach a decision on pushing a way to implement the Oct. 26 EU summit agreement on the terms of releasing further aid to Greece.
"I think there is going to be a lot of criticism and explaining from our side, but I believe the Europeans are committed to having the decisions of Oct. 26 implemented," she said.
Panaritis recognized that the referendum idea has created a high level of uncertainty since Monday evening, leading to some trillion euros losses in markets worldwide.
But she defended Papandreou's call, noting that there is another side of the coin, that Greece has been "a boiling pot of social disagreement and reaction that gave several times symptoms of very bad disorder."
Pointing to the most recent one, the disruption of a major national parade on Oct. 28, the lawmaker suggested that this was probably the reason why the Greek prime minister chose to call the referendum.
"Because he thought it was a less complicated, difficult and disrupting way of handling this unrest rather than calling national elections," she said, adding that as an informal advisor to the government and to the prime minister she knows well that one of the biggest concerns has been political instability.
But, Papandreou's unexpected announcement has generated political turmoil that rocks his government ahead of a crucial confidence vote on Friday evening.
"Every single minute passing is almost like a whole year of events. I hope for the better," said Panaritis expressing optimism the government will survive the parliamentary vote and the referendum will be held as soon as possible to save further uncertainty. According to the latest planning, it could happen in December.
Panaritis acknowledged that it was a highly risky decision. "If it works, it will be fantastic. We are changing the way the EU is going to do both its financial business, its ecomomis, as well as its way of coordinating its constituencies. If it does not work, then we are in trouble, then we will have to have national elections," she said.
Stressing that it is very unfortunate that the crisis that has hit Greece hard since late 2009, has taken so long to finally come to some sort of resolution, she expressed optimism that it is not too late to address it and restore stability and growth following an austerity and structural reform drive.
"It is never too late. The world has been around for millions of years. Greece has been around for 4,000 years. If there is one country I would bet in favor of for successes, it would be Greece due to the Greek human capital which is the best," said a smiling Panaritis.