Leaders of the world’s 20 top industrial nations have been meeting this week in the swish French resort of Cannes – think red carpets and movie starlets.
But it’s Greece who’s been carpeted this week – in particular by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Offered a multi-billion Euro bailout for his beleaguered economy, the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he’d ask the people of Greece first, in a referendum.
“Up to you,” said Merkel and Sarkozy in unison, “but no more EU money until you decide.”
The message was loud and clear: the health of the European Union is more important than that of one of its member states.
And that, according to the German commentator, Werner Mussler, represents a historic turning point in the short life of the Euro (which is only 12 years old).
“Withdrawal from the Euro is no longer a taboo,” he writes in the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, based in Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank.
He says Merkel and Sarkozy are clearly worried that Greece could pull the rest of Europe into the abyss. He adds that there’s another country that should be drawing a lesson – Italy.
“The message from Cannes,” warns Mussler, ” is without doubt the writing on the wall for Silvio Berlusconi.”