Greek prime minister's decision to call a referendum on a European Union (EU) plan to rescue Greece's heavily indebted economy has raised concerns among Nordic country leaders meeting here Tuesday.
"Greece is a democracy and it is within its rights to call a referendum," said Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
"But as a matter of fact I have to state that it will not create more stability for the European economy and its debt situation," she added in comments cited by Danish news agency Ritzau.
In a surprise move late Monday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou decided to call a referendum and a vote of confidence in parliament on a new EU aid pact clinched in Brussels Oct. 26.
Papandreou did not specify when the confidence vote or referendum would take place, but local media suggested it could be held in January.
That could mean that the referendum and its result become a core issue for the Danish presidency of the EU, which starts Jan. 1, 2012.
"It is necessary to tidy up after the debt crisis that we are discussing at the present moment," Thorning-Schmidt remarked, adding it is difficult to see why the Greeks would vote against a rescue plan that could save the country from bankruptcy.
Among other things, the EU pact aims to write-off 50 percent of Greece's public debt, but demands deeper austerity measures in return. However, opinion polls show the majority of Greeks are unhappy with the measures, and could vote against accepting the EU's plan.
Other Nordic leaders who gathered in Copenhagen Tuesday for a three-day meeting of the Nordic Council, also expressed concern about the referendum.
"In the first instance this is an expression of Greece's internal policies, but it is clear that it creates great uncertainty," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in comments cited by Ritzau.
"There is a big question mark hanging over what will happen regardless of the outcome," he added, referring to the referendum.
Meanwhile, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katajainen told the press here that Papandreou's decision was surprising, and stressed it is certainly not good for stability in the eurozone.
Finland is a member of the 17-country euro common currency zone, while Denmark and Sweden are members of the 27-member EU but retain use of their national currencies, the Danish and Swedish kroner respectively.
Heads of Nordic countries, their foreign and finance ministers, have been discussing issues including the Nordic region's open societies and the sovereign debt crisis plaguing some EU countries under the ongoing Council meeting.
According to Ritzau, none of the attending Nordic leaders would speculate on what a Greek 'no' at the referendum would entail.