17 JUN 2011
By Leigh Phillips (Brussels scolds Greek political class amid fresh turmoil
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission reprimanded the Greek political class on Thursday for the governing and opposition parties' failure to forge a national unity government after talks broke down the day before.
"A great deal of responsibility lies on the shoulders of the Greek authorities and all Greek political leaders," EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement. "We expect the Greek Parliament to endorse the economic reform programme as agreed by the end of June."
The EU-IMF-ECB troika have pressed the Greek government with its slim majority to forge a cross-party consensus with the conservative opposition in return for the latest, €12 billion tranche of bail-out cash.
"It is regrettable that the efforts to build national unity failed yesterday," Rehn continued, saying that all parties must support the bail-out agreement.
"Indeed, the efforts needed to avoid a default - which would be a catastrophe for Greece - are the responsibility of all political forces."
"The next days will be critical for the financial stability and economic recovery in Greece and Europe. I trust all leaders in Greece and Europe realise their responsibility and will act accordingly."
On Wednesday, Greece's political crisis deepened when in talks with conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister George Papandreou offered to resign as head of government in what he described as his fourth attempt at forging a coalition government.
However, Papandreou rejected demands by his opposite number that the memorandum of understanding between Greece and the Troika be renegotiated.
Rehn's rebuke came amid fresh turmoil in Athens.
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