Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Greece to Me

Yesterday's surprise from Greece (it seems there is at least one each day) is for a referendum. Not just on the bailout, thinly disguised as a rescue package. The terms for the package include some severe cuts, and few in Greece are in favor of the bitter medicine they must swallow.

Rather, Papandreou is risking his already-shaky career by asking his fellow Grecians, in effect, whether or not they still want to be part of the European Union. That could have some far-reaching ramifications. Words like "market panic" are being bandied about. The US market sell-off on Monday and Tuesday was part of it.

Several months ago, several investment folks debated whether or not the EU would survive. Smart minds on both sides of the pond were fairly certain that it would remain intact. Now, some of those same souls are scratching their collective heads.

The G 20 countries are in Cannes, amid much gnashing of teeth. All eyes are on Greece tomorrow, when the confidence-in-Papandreou vote will be held. His Pasok Socialist party controls a mere 152 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. But, he's savvy enough to recognize that unless he has the support of the Greek people, chaos is likely to ensue. Stay tuned.

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