Business, Finance & Economics

France, Germany tell Greece to decide on euro zone


Greek Prime MInister George Papandreou addressing the Greek parliament. His call for a referendum has rattled world markets and angered opposition politicians



France and Germany ordered Greece Wednesday to make up its mind on whether it wants to remain part of the euro zone.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel summoned Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who recently called for a referendum on the bailout plan, for crisis talks Wednesday in Cannes, France, Reuters reports.

It states that the French and German leaders pressed Papandreou for Greece to make a decision on the euro zone by mid-December.

Papandreou announced late Monday that he would put the European rescue plan for his country up to a vote.

More from GlobalPost: Greece: Cabinet backs bailout referendum

Before the meeting, French and German political leaders expressed their shock and displeasure with the recent news that the Greeks will vote on the bailout plan. The referendum casts doubt on plans to fix the euro zone debt crisis.

"We agreed a plan for Greece last week. We want to put this plan into practice, but for this we need clarity and the meeting tonight should help with precisely this," Merkel said earlier Wednesday.

Likewise, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told Parliament that Europe "cannot be kept waiting for weeks for the outcome of the referendum."

"The Greeks must say quickly and without ambiguity whether they choose to keep their place in the euro zone or not," he said, as reported by Reuters.

GlobalPost's Ken Maguire writes from Athens that the Greek prime minister is in a politically risky position.

The risks are historic even if the proposed referendum doesn't materialize. Opposition leaders and some members of Papandreou's ruling party have called for new elections, which would favor the center-right New Democracy party, whose leader opposes most austerity measures and the long-negotiated bailout.

More from GlobalPost: Greek referendum: What should they vote on?