Greece to Put Its Future (and Europe's) to a Vote This Friday

The European debt crisis could be back at the brink by the end of this week. Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou roiled markets by calling for a public referendum on the negotiated bailout package to rescue Greece. A "no" vote could put the country back on the path of default.

The bailout deal, which was pulled together in a marathon session of the Eurozone's top leaders, was designed to shore up Greece's massive debt problem and bring the country's financial house back into line. The key to the bailout, as usual, was forcing the country to agree to punishing austerity measures that Papandreou now realizes will not sit well with his people. A German parliamentary leader tells Reuters that, "This sounds to me like someone is trying to wriggle out of what was agreed -- a strange thing to do."

By putting it to a vote, Papandreou is basically putting his entire government and possibly Greece's EU membership on the line. If voters reject the deal, they're saying "thanks, but no thanks" to the very idea of sharing an economy with the rest of Europe. A no vote would likely lead to a Greek default and the end of the euro in that country, as well as the end of Papandreou's tenure and new elections.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

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