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Divided Greeks Vote
World Economy

Divided Greeks Vote

Greeks voted on Sunday in a referendum that could determine their future in Europe's common currency, with banks shuttered, the treasury empty and a population desperate, angry and so deeply split.

The governing radical-left Syriza party has criticized the bailout terms as humiliating. Its leading figures say rejecting the terms could give them more leverage in talks over the country's massive debt.

However, international creditors have warned that a "No" vote could choke off vital funding for Greek banks and lead to "Grexit"–a chaotic departure from the common European currency.

The "Yes" campaign has framed the vote in just such terms–as a referendum on Greek membership of the eurozone.

EU Promises Help

Europe will not "desert" the people of Greece regardless of the outcome of Sunday's referendum and may provide it emergency loans, the head of the European Parliament said Sunday.

Martin Schulz told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the Athens government had maneuvered the heavily-indebted country "into a dead end".

"Perhaps we will have to give emergency bridging loans to Greece so that public service can be maintained and needy people get the money they need to survive," he said.

"For that, money would be available short term in Brussels," the European Parliament president said in the interview. But he warned this would not be a lasting solution.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will meet Monday to assess the fallout from Sunday’s Greek referendum.

“Whatever Greece decides, Britain is prepared,” Osborne told the BBC’s “Andrew Marr” program on Sunday. “We have the plans in place for whatever the outcome is, the prime minister will be chairing a meeting tomorrow morning with myself, the governor of the Bank of England, and others, to assess the situation.”

 “The Greek situation has an impact on the European economy, which has an impact on us,” said Osborne. “We cannot be immune from these developments, but it’s all the more reason why we’ve got to keep our house in order, run that budget surplus, pay down our debts, be better prepared for whatever the world throws at us, because clearly, the world can throw anything at us.”

 

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