Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Growth Up but Still Euro Trouble Ahead

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Growth Up but Still Euro Trouble Ahead

Article excerpt

TODAY'S growth figures for the UK economy in the last quarter are better than expected, at 0.5 per cent, and better than the 0.1 per cent for the three months before that. This will come as a relief to the Chancellor, George Osborne. But the figures are still weak, with many forecasters predicting lower growth ahead. Moreover, markets have fallen on the news that the deal painstakingly thrashed out last week for an EU Greek bailout may yet be put in jeopardy by a referendum.

Whatever the merits of letting the Greeks decide their country's economic future -- and there is everything to be said for democratic decisions -- this was not the deal that the Athens government signed up to. Had prime minister George Papandreou told eurozone governments last week that the entire agreement was conditional on the say-so of the Greek public, the tone of the negotiations might have been very different. Mr Papandreou would have done better to have called an early election, which would in effect have been a referendum on the bailout but less disruptive. …

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