Today in EuroMess, the story moved from Athens to Cannes, where international leaders convened for the annual G20 summit. The meeting doesn’t start until Thursday, but attendees are not wasting any time: French president Nicholas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel held an emergency meeting this afternoon with Greek prime minister George Papandreou. They urged him to “make up his mind fast” on whether Greece would leave the euro.
Elsewhere in Europe, countries tried to sort out what the new uncertainties of a Greek referendum on the bailout mean. Markets rebounded slightly after a taking a big tumble on Monday. German banks said they would continue to support the bailout, but only if a Greek referendum passed. Portugal and Spain worried about the potential fallout if Greece defaults on its debt while the United States has yet to take a stance. Experts told us that default was actually looking pretty likely.
And back in Greece, the parliment began debating a no-confidence vote on Papandreou’s government. The debate is scheduled to last three days and come to a vote on Friday. If that vote succeeds, it would trigger a Greek election for a new government (but, under the Greek constitution, it couldn’t happen for at least three weeks). That would create a whole new set of uncertainties as to what happens next in an already fragile situation.