As it happened: Greek confidence vote

Key points

  • The Greek government is facing a vote of confidence over its handling of the debt crisis
  • Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has confirmed a referendum on the eurozone bailout is off
  • The G20 summit in Cannes concludes with a plan to boost growth and IMF funding - but it is short on detail
  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy gives strong backing to a tax on financial transactions
  • China says it will not boost the eurozone bailout fund until the Greek issue is resolved
  • All times are GMT

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of what looks set to be another turbulent day in the eurozone and beyond. Greek PM George Papandreou has so far resisted calls to resign over his handling of his country's debt crisis, but today sees a vote of confidence in his government which could be costly for him.


    Mr Papandreou made a shock decision earlier this week to call for a national referendum on whether his country should accept a hard-fought bailout package and austerity plan. He has now offered to drop the referendum plan and enter a coalition with the opposition, but many MPs in both the opposition and his own party say he should go and call snap elections.


    If you want to brush up on some of the main issues facing Greece, and understand more about why what is happening there has generated such chaos in the whole eurozone, have a look at our Q&A on the Greek debt crisis.


    Leaders of the G20 industrialised nations are entering their second day of talks today in Cannes, southern France, with the eurozone crisis dominating the agenda. Late night talks are believed to have focused on concluding details of the Greek rescue plan and on coming up with contingency plans in case Greece can't get back on track.


    Last night, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the euro was "at the very heart of Europe" and that "if the euro exploded, Europe would explode".


    European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the BBC's Today programme this morning that he expects Greece to form a government of national unity, and that the country's problems can be solved. He said that it was in Greece's interest to stay in the euro but that "it depends on them".


    "We believe it is in their interests and we would like them to stay, we have been saying that very clearly, because I think the principle of a country leaving the euro is not a good one," said Mr Barroso. "But at the end, it depends on them being able to implement the decisions taken together."

    Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor, Athens

    The possibility of the Greek people voting no in a referendum had put in jeopardy the entire EU agreement intended to fix the eurozone debt crisis. The referendum proposal was eventually scrapped, according to the prime minister's office, after the opposition indicated they now supported the EU rescue plan. But George Papandreou was also trying to put down the rebellion in his own ranks.

    Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor, Athens

    It remains highly uncertain whether Mr Papandreou will survive, and whether he wins or loses, it is said he will start talks over forming a government of national unity. But if he is forced out, the opposition will call for snap elections. Politically Greece remains in chaos.


    The European markets have risen on opening this morning. A short while ago, the FTSE-100 index was up 34.14 at 5,579.77.

    Mark Lowen BBC News, Athens

    I have just spoken to one of the MPs from Mr Papandreou's own party who had threatened to vote against him in the confidence vote, and she told me that because she feels the referendum threat has been withdrawn she will now vote in support of him. That is incredibly important because at the moment Mr Papandreou has a parliamentary majority of two, so if he loses his own MPs he could potentially lose the vote of confidence tonight.


    Overnight news emerged that Italy has agreed to be placed under the stewardship of the International Monetary Fund, the ensure it is meeting its commitments to financial reform and reducing its budget deficit.

    Christian Fraser BBC News, Cannes

    It is quite embarrassing to be put under the stewardship of an outside power, and we know that Italy - just like Greece - has a rather unruly coalition. So the bigger question is whether Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi can get whatever he has agreed to here past his coalition partners.


    Officials at the G20 talks said the move to put Italy under IMF supervision would help reassure the jittery financial markets that Italy would achieve a package of pension, labour, and structural reforms.

    Christina Gregson in Athens

    tweets: Not sure if tonight's vote will actually solve anything at all in Greece. Everything still in the air! #Greece #Eurozone

    Nick Malkoutzis, Deputy Editor of Kathimerini English Edition newspaper in Greece

    tweets: New Democracy suggesting it will back out of interim gov't talks if Papandreou wins confidence vote today. They fear he'll use it to stay on.


    The economic woes in Greece have raised something that was previously unthinkable - the possibility of the Greek people rejecting the euro. BBC business reporter Kabir Chibber has been looking at how Athens could go about removing itself from the euro and begin going it alone.


    The domestic debate in Greece has been about whether the country was right to accept a huge bailout plan in exchange for drastic austerity measures. For more details on that plan, what it meant for Greek people and on the fear of "contagion" across the euro region, have a look at our Eurozone crisis explained feature.


    As a flavour of the mood on the street in Greece, Athens resident Vangelis Pirinisvangelis has told Reuters: "What is going on now is psychotic. Its a disgrace. Everyone everywhere is saying [Mr Papandreou] has lost it, he is ruthless, he has to go so we can all calm down, so we can start being more productive, to start investing, spending. Because Greeks do have money, at least to get things moving again. It's a disgrace."


    Greek opposition MP Simos Kedikoglou has told the BBC's World Today programme that while his New Democracy party supports Mr Papandreou's call for bailout to be adopted, this does not mean they support him staying on as prime minister.


    "We had a very paradoxical day yesterday. What we saw the prime minister doing was completely without logic," said Mr Kedikoglou. "What our leader told him was that he should resign. Our party supports the Brussels deal which has to be implemented because we can't be otherwise. The dangers for Greece and for the European Union too are too high."


    The chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Constantine Michalos, told the Today programme that Mr Papandreou was probably looking for a "dignified exit" from office. "I think in all certainty within the next 10 days we will have this transitional national unity government that we need in order to safeguard the interests both of the Greek economy and of the European economy as well."


    British finance minister George Osborne, who is in Cannes, said the UK was ready if Greece did choose to leave the eurozone, and that this was a possible outcome. "Britain prepares for all contingencies - we must make sure Britain is a safe as possible. We are also prepared for whatever the eurozone throws at us."

    French Finance Minister Francois Baroin (L), French President Nicolas Sarkozy (C), OSCE Secretary General Jose Angel Gurria in Cannes (4 Nov 2011)

    The G20 talks are getting underway in Cannes. Here, French President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) and his Finance Minister Francois Baroin share a word during a photocall with Jose Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OSCE).


    The Guardian newspaper has put together an intriguing photo gallery trying to analyse the body language on show on the first day of the G20 summit in Cannes, complete with hand-holding, shoulder-patting, shrugs and, apparently, covert glances.


    More from the street in Athens. Insurance salesman George Papadopolous told Reuters he was hoping for elections. "I don't think that Papandreou government will get the confidence vote today, so tonight or tomorrow I hope they will call elections." One woman said she was hoping for a unity government "with the least amount of useless politicians".


    A quick word on China's role in the eurozone crisis. There had been hopes that Beijing would make a significant contribution to the eurozone bailout fund, but officials indicated on Thursday they would be unwilling to do so until the situation in Greece has been resolved.

    Christian Fraser BBC News, Cannes

    China doesn't really know what they're investing in at the moment, because the bailout for Greece and the recapitalisation of the banks is very much up in the air. But what they can do is channel money bilaterally to the IMF, so the IMF could stand there as an expanded firewall to cover any shocks in the system.

    John Papadakis in Athens

    tweets: Europeans say that they can withstand a Greek exit. What about that? Is it a bluff?

    Jon Sopel BBC News, Athens

    A lot of people are suffering in Greece. I spoke to one man last night and said, do you think Papandreou is going to stay? He said, 'I'm not going to stay, I just want to get out of Greece and live somewhere else'. He was talking about how his income had been cut, he could no longer afford the mortgage. These are the realities for people in Greece, and what they see is things getting worse.


    More from Cannes - here, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama appear deep in conversation as they wait for the talks to get underway.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama in Cannes (4 Nov 2011)
    Thomas Mayer, writing in Austria's Der Standard newspaper,

    says Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou has lost the trust of his partners. "For too long he has played for high stakes. That doesn't work in the EU any longer\u2026 when the EU ship begins to keel over it is big-power politics that dictates events. That may be necessary, but it still means a backward step for the EU."


    British Chancellor George Osborne said there are two sets of responsibilities for the Cannes meeting. "There is a set of responsibilities for the members of the euro to stand behind their currency, and ultimately that is their responsibility - no one else can do that for them... Then there are a set of responsibilities which we, the Americans, the Chinese, the Japanese and so on have, which is to protect the international economic system and its institutions like the IMF. Those two sets of responsibilities are very clearly understood here in France."

    The BBC's Robert Peston

    tweets: Good news for taxpayers: RBS's [Royal Bank of Scotland] total exposures to governments in Portugal, Greece, Italy, Spain & Ire cut in 2011 from \u00a34.6bn to \u00a31.1bn

    An editorial in Spain's El Pais newspaper

    says dropping the Greek referendum plan and moving to form a new government "unblocks the blind alley where Greece and the EU had got stuck". "We are yet to see what takes shape\u2026 now EU leaders ought to consider beefing up the rescue package with new stimulus measures for the Greek economy, because getting it out of recession is the only thing that will guarantee the repayment of debts and a return to normality."


    Bailouts, recapitalisation, quantitative easing, EFSF, haircuts - if you're confused by some of the terms flying around in eurozone stories, you may want to bookmark our financial jargon buster for quick reference.

    Jon Sopel BBC News, Athens

    Greece is a comparatively small economy on the global stage and yet what is happening here has absolutely galvanised attention at the G20 summit in Cannes, where leaders are watching with some degree of bemusement, bewilderment and horror what has been unfolding. Because what is happening here could have very big ramifications for much the bigger economy and the prospects for global growth.


    Luc Lampiere, executive director of Oxfam in France, says the G20's focus on the eurozone crisis means the summit will ignore other vital issues. "There are problems across the planet. The issues that were a victim of this agenda, of this very European agenda, are issues of poverty in the world - issues of food supplies, the fight against climate change.... This is a big failure for leadership from those countries."

    Alan Johnston BBC News

    Italians are generally finding this whole process in Cannes fairly humiliating - the most powerful figures in the world making it abundantly clear again that they don't have the greatest faith in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. La Repubblica is saying Mr Berlusconi has been called to Cannes to be told what to do by the grown ups.


    A word from Beijing, where foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news conference that China supports efforts by eurozone countries to solve the crisis. "We hope relevant parties can take active measures, overcome difficulties, stabilise the world financial market, and promote the economic recovery and growth of the European Union."

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    As a group, the eurozone economies comprise just over a fifth of the world economy, a similar share to the US. They are some of the richest countries in the world. And yet, they have so mismanaged their affairs - with such devastating potential consequences for the global economy and its financial system - that the rest of the world believes it has no choice but to come to its rescue. Read more from Stephanie.


    Commerzbank, Germany's second largest bank, says further writedowns on Greek debt have pushed it into a quarterly loss of 687m euros ($949m, \u00a3593m), compared with a 113m-euro profit a year ago.


    Details are emerging of the draft communique being discussed by G20 leaders in Cannes. The AFP news agency quotes it as saying: "We will develop further our regulation on market integrity and efficiency, including addressing the risks posed by high frequency trading and dark liquidity" - referring to securities traded privately rather than on public exchanges.


    Reuters says the draft reaffirms the G20 countries' commitment to resist protectionism, but gives no mention of completing the Doha range of trade talks. They have also agreed to move rapidly towards flexible, market-determined exchange rate systems, says Reuters.

    George Ferianis in London

    emails: Greek people have money and are creative - we just need political and economic stability in order to invest.


    Commerzbank, Germany's second largest bank, has said it will refuse loans which are not of benefit to Germany or Poland. "We have to focus on supporting the German economy as other banks pull out," said chief financial officer Eric Strutz. He added: "The whole stability of Europe depends on whether Italy gets its act together."

    Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor, Athens

    The story of the week so far is not the machinations in Greece; it is that the eurozone's leaders accept that it may be better for some countries to leave. Read more from Gavin

    Under the headline "Yes or no", Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    says the fact that leaving the eurozone is no longer a taboo marks "a historical turning point", BBC Monitoring reports. According to a commentary by Werner Mussler, Greek citizens should be able to choose between staying or leaving because there are "common rules in the eurozone which all have to follow".


    A quick look at the markets - a short while ago the FTSE was up 50.59 at 5596.23, the Dax up 10.41 at 6143.59, France's CAC was up 15.04 at 3210.51 while the Dow Jones closed up 208.43 at 12044.47.


    The G20 is made up of 19 countries plus the EU, but a number of other countries and organisations have also been invited to the Cannes summit. For a quick overview of which leaders are attending and how each country's economy is faring, have a look at our interactive family photo.

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor, Cannes

    The first day of G20 was very much about Greece and I'm sure that officials and leaders here will be keeping an eye on that confidence vote. But another conclusion that came out of yesterday was that they can't hope to control what is going on in Greece anymore, and that the emphasis has to be on hoping for the best but preparing for the worst as well.

    Mike Parmele

    tweets: The Greek people should get to decide if they want to suffer through more financial colonialism.


    If you're just joining us, welcome to our live coverage of another day in the troubled eurozone and beyond. The focus is on Cannes, where G20 leaders are meeting, and on Athens, where the Greek government faces a vote of confidence later in the day that may bring down Prime Minister George Papandreou. You can contact us by e-mail, Twitter and text message - the details are below the video viewer. We'll try to post as many of your comments as we can.


    Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has confirmed to European officials that plans for a referendum on the ongoing international bailout of the country's economy have been dropped. The plan had enraged European leaders after they had reached an agreement to cut Greece's debt last week.

    Olivier Ferrand head of the French left-wing think-tank Terra Nova

    writes in Le Monde: "A federal Europe is again within reach... "One federal Europe for the members of the eurozone and a second circle - a confederation - for the others... It would be recognition of a two-speed Europe."

    "The plan for a two-speed Europe resolves the quarrel that has always put the French and British concepts of Europe at loggerheads. Fifty years after the Treaty of Rome [the EU's founding treaty] those two concepts are as strong and irreconcilable as ever," he argues.


    A note on timings in Cannes and Athens. Through the afternoon we're expecting comments from some of the leaders gathered in Cannes for the G20 summit, including the French and US presidents. Later, MPs in Athens debate and then hold a vote of confidence on the Papandreou government.

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor, Cannes

    There's a feeling in Cannes that Italy has been a bit of an innocent victim, with bond markets being unfair in charging the country high interest rates to borrow. The Italians are saying there's more to the government than Mr Berlusconi. That's why they've asked the IMF to provide "enhanced surveillance" - to show Italy is being responsible.

    Nestor Petrovich

    comments on BBC Russian: "At the moment EU reminds me of the USSR - it doesn't follow economic laws but ideological ones. In the USSR manufacturers, which were bankrupt, still worked supported by the government donations. As a result the USSR collapsed. The same will happen to the EU if they won't stop supporting bankrupts."

    Costas Liakopoulos in Greece

    tweets: By the time #Greece decides if it wants to be rescued, #Italy will be paying 8% interest and #France will not longer be AAA rated. #byebyeEZ

    Nicolas Demorand, in the French daily Liberation

    writes: "Let's put ourselves in the shoes of the Greeks for a moment," BBC Monitoring reports. He deplore the "humiliation" of the Greek premier by Paris and Berlin as a sign of "dangerous brutality" in the relationship between members of the EU, which he says was created to overcome "old-style international relations marked by the unregulated domination of the weak by the strong".

    1204: Breaking News

    European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is speaking in Cannes. He said he was glad to see a sense of collective responsibility around the G20 table.


    Mr Barroso said they will do what it takes to preserve the stability of the euro.


    Mr Barroso has confirmed that Rome has asked the IMF to oversee its budgetary measures. Italy is wrestling with its own debt monster and is facing high interest rates to borrow money to keep everything going.


    Mr Barroso also said a global financial transaction tax was discussed, but there was no agreement on the controversial idea.

    Howard Wheeldon, a senior strategist at BGC partners

    told the BBC Italy's problems were very different from Greece's: "It has a very high level of debt - 120% to GDP, but its deficit, while not suggesting for a moment it's small at 60%, it's a lot smaller than the deficits of other countries.

    "It is manageable and it can be managed down if the Italians put in place proper taxation measures and proper cost-saving measures. What Italy's got that Greece hasn't though is a huge asset base - the asset base in its people - those people have got a lot of savings... that can be tapped."

    Stuart Gall in Greece

    tweets: How can Greece possibly move forward if its leaders put political cost ahead of their duty to the country? It is a tragedy.

    Christian Fraser BBC News, Cannes

    has been poring over what he has gleaned of the G20's draft final communique. "It goes little past reaffirming commitments made in Brussels a week ago. There's not much in this communique. The verdict from those who are watching, for the moment, is it looks like a bit of a failure."

    Christian Fraser BBC News, Cannes

    says "don't expect any big, bold solutions," in the G20 final communique. He says China, the US and the UK are pushing eurozone countries into "more convincing positions". In exchange, they have agreed that the IMF can be bolstered to help with the eurozone crisis.

    Europe's best-selling tabloid, Germany's Bild

    publishes a letter to Greece on its website, in which it says the "limit of our understanding has been reached", BBC Monitoring reports. "Who are you, Greeks, really?" Bild columnist Franz Josef Wagner asks. But he goes on to argue that Greece should never be thrown out of Europe because "Greece is where we originate from, no matter how crazy the modern Greeks are."


    The vacancy left at the banking regulator, the Financial Stability Board, by Mario Draghi's move to the helm of the European Central Bank, is to be filled by Mark Carney, the head of Canada's central bank, AFP quotes German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying.


    The euro has fallen against the dollar and German Bund (or government bond) futures rose after Chancellor Angela Merkel said hardly any countries in the G20 have said they will participate in the European Financial Stability Facility - the EU's big bailout fund, Reuters reports.

    Beijing's Renmin Ribao overseas edition

    says with some understatement: "Due to twists and turns in the European debt crisis, it will be difficult for France to attain its wishes of hosting the most successful G20 summit in Cannes," BBC Monitoring reports.

    Beijing's Global Times website in English

    also reflects China's chief concern, that much of the world considers its currency undervalued, thereby making its products cheap on the international market. "Insiders say G20 leaders are determined' to push China's yuan to rise further... Pressing for the yuan's rise, rather than focusing on structural problems in the global economy, will bring about neither smaller trade deficits nor more job opportunities.

    "The current value of the yuan has approached a reasonable and balanced level. Gradual exchange reform of the yuan is the best solution to rebalance the world economy."


    The vote of confidence in the Greek parliament has been scheduled for midnight (2200 GMT) so that markets in Europe and the US will be closed, such is market sensitivity to events in what is actually a small European economy.


    French President Nicolas Sarkozy is speaking at the G20 summit in Cannes. He says there was agreement on a firm attitude to Greece.


    Mr Sarkozy continues: "I salute the efforts of Italy, which has taken the necessary measures to... reach a balanced budget by 2013. Italy is an essential state of the eurozone and the world economy."


    Mr Sarkozy said France, Germany and a number of other countries supported a financial transaction tax.


    "France will fight for that tax to become a reality," Mr Sarkozy says.


    Mr Sarkozy said US President Barack Obama did not agree to a financial transaction tax but "was open to envisaging that a financial contribution be made by actors of the financial market to help us out of this crisis."


    The French president also said he wanted tough action against tax havens. He said such countries would be ostracised by the international community.


    British Prime Minister David Cameron is now giving a separate news conference in Cannes. He says Britain will not contribute to the eurozone bailout fund and neither will the IMF. But, he said "the IMF has a vital role to play supporting countries right across the world that are in serious economic distress".

    Foivos Panagopoulos

    tweets: Sarkozy: Italy absolutely essential to euro. Greece? Errr, not so much...


    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been speaking as well. He says he doesn't believe his time in government is coming to an end, Reuters reports.


    More from Mr Berlusconi: He says he sees nobody else who can authoritatively represent Italy abroad.

    Joel Taylor, Metro,

    tweets: Sarkozy has actually said nothing. No agreements made, no funding secured. Only achievement has been keeping Greece in eurozone temporarily


    writes: Papandreou will be gone before the end of next week. This crisis is not about saving individual countries, it's ALL about saving the Euro and forcing ever closer political integration (leading to a European super parliament headed by France and Germany) which, cynics may deduce, will bring near-completion to their original 'road map' that was devised long before the birth of the Euro.


    More of what Mr Sarkozy told reporters: he said what was "shocking" about Greece's recent behaviour was not "the principle of the referendum", but that "none of the partners of Greece had been informed".

    He added that if Greeks were to vote on the bail-out plans agreed on 27 October, they would have to vote "on all the other plans".


    Italian PM Berlusconi says Italy turned down an offer of financial aid from the International Monetary Fund as it "wasn't necessary", AFP news agency reports


    But Mr Berlusconi told the news conference at the G20 summit in Cannes that Italy had asked for the IMF to help monitor the implementation of its economic reforms, AFP says

    An editorial in France's Le Monde

    says the "Greek saga is masking the real concern: the prospect of a quasi-recession in 2012", BBC Monitoring reports. The paper says current efforts to rebalance budgets are justified but "at the same time they are undermining the prospect of a real boost to growth".


    Apparently Mr Berlusconi claimed Italians had been "impoverished" since the introduction of the euro, Reuters news agency reports


    The UK's Prime Minister David Cameron has also been speaking at the end of the G20 summit. He said said all the leaders had agreed that they would be willing to increase their contributions to the IMF, and this included the UK "within the limits that have already been agreed by parliament".


    But Mr Cameron added: "Let's be clear - global action cannot be a substitute for concrete action by the eurozone to stand behind their currency and by implementing what they've agreed and resolving the uncertainty that remains in Greece and elsewhere.

    "I'm determined that Britain will weather the storm, but we've also sought to remove the obstacles that there are to global growth - both now and in the future- the persistence in global imbalances, the slide towards protectionism and the failure of global governance."


    German stock prices have fallen by more than 2% this afternoon amid renewed scepticism over EU efforts to resolve its debilitating debt crisis - with Commerzbank the biggest loser, after it said it was scrapping its 2012 profit targets due to losses on its holdings of Greek sovereign debt, reports AFP news agency

    Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    says that along with the news that the Royal Bank of Scotland's exposure to financially challenged eurozone governments has been dramatically reduced, there is also some less good news. "RBS's chief executive has said the bank won't hit the profit target he's set for 2013 because of the costs of banking reform and the slower than expected economic recovery.

    "Even so, the bank shares rose today because investors seem to be setting less store on the profitability of banks and more on their safety - a sign of our anxious times."

    Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull

    tweets: Countdown to the confidence vote. Is there any confidence in Papandreou? No. He may win but days numbered. #greece #euro


    US President Barack Obama is speaking at the G20 summit. Says "important progress has been made to put our economies on a firmer footing".


    "All of us have an enormous interest in Europe's success," Mr Obama says - "Europe is the US's largest trading partner". Important progress has been made at the G20, he says.


    "Europeans agree with us that it's important to send a clear signal that the European project is alive and well and they are committed to the euro," Mr Obama says.

    "We've seen all the elements for dealing with the crisis put in place," he says.


    Those elements are, Mr Obama says: a solution to the specific problem of Greece; the recapitalisation of Europe's banks; and creating a "firewall", to send a signal to the markets that Europe is going to stand behind the euro. "The details are still being worked out, but we were able to give them some ideas about how to put that together," he adds.


    "The international community is going to stand ready to assist and make sure the overall global economy is cushioned from shocks as Europe works this though," Mr Obama says. "They wil have a strong partner in us."


    President Obama hailed China's decision to increase the flexibility of the renminbi, saying that it would be "a critical step in boosting growth", AFP reports


    Adrian Lovett, Europe director of the global anti-poverty campaign group ONE, believes the developing world has been the big loser because of the G20's focus on the Eurozone crisis.

    "When you look at the time spent on the Eurozone and on Greece when leaders could have been focusing on the interests of the very poorest countries but also the recovery that's meant in a broader sense, where Africa is a big part of the solution, then you have to say it [the Cannes summit] has been a failure," he told the BBC.


    Some Greeks have been talking to the BBC's World Have Your Say programme about life there in these troubled times. Vasiliki Vassiliades, a former elementary school teacher from the small island of Khios, told us: "Children here at school don't have books to study from - teachers are making photocopies so they can get on with the lessons, because the government has not been able to print books."


    Dimitrios Paraskevas, a musician from Thessaloniki, said: "We are not getting what we are supposed to get from the government, which we have paid for. Even though I'm unemployed and I don't pay direct taxes, every time I buy something I pay taxes - 23% VAT. Every time I buy a beer I pay a special tax on alcohol, etc."

    Andrew Walker BBC economics correspondent

    reports on the agreement by leaders attending the G20 summit to provide extra resources for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) so that it can provide more financial help for struggling economies. "There is no agreement on how much is needed nor exactly how it would be done. Nor did the communique say that the extra resources would be specifically to help Europe," he says.

    Andrew Walker BBC economics correspondent

    says that reflects the view that the Eurozone has to do most of the work itself. President Obama said Europe has the "capacity to meet this challenge", he says.

    James Wilkins in Thessaloniki, Greece,

    emails: When talk of a referendum in a little country like Greece can cause panic in the world financial system then there is something seriously wrong with the system.


    France and Germany may have backed a small tax on financial transactions, but no consensus on the tax was reached by countries attending the G20 summit, European Commission chairman Manuel Barroso has said according to AFP news agency.


    Mr Barroso said there were references to the tax in the final G20 summmit statement, but added there was "no unanimity yet", AFP said. The final statement "recognises the efforts of those who decided to go ahead" with implementing the levies, Mr Barroso said.


    Italy's planned budgetary reforms lack credibility, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned after a G20 summit dominated by the eurozone debt crisis. "The main problem we have, which has been clearly identified as much by the Italian authorities as by their partners, is a lack of credibility in the measures that have been announced," Lagarde told reporters according to AFP news agency.


    Save the Children complains that the G20's focus on the European crisis and a lack of political will have "left the voices of the [world's] poorest almost unheard". In a statement, it says "12 months ago the G20 promised a safety net for the world's poorest, major reforms to the world's dysfunctional food system and the possibility of billions of dollars in development finance", but says little of this has been achieved.

    Melinda York

    tweets: I say stop the Greece bailout & let the chips fall where they may. Maybe people will eventually have enough sense to stop using credit.

    Charles in Leeds, UK

    texts: If the leaders of the EU had ever done a proper day's work in their lives or had to balance weekly housekeeping they would be aware how many beans make five and would not have dreamt of running up these massive debts. When do the EU resignations start?

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor, Cannes

    says "the G20 has concluded that it's up to the Europeans to fix this", and there is little hard cash forthcoming from non-European members to provide a financial safety net for the eurozone. "It looks as though the shakedown failed," she says. Read the rest of her analysis here.


    The Greek parliament has begun debating the vote of confidence in the government, reports AFP news agency.


    If you're just joining us, welcome to our live coverage of the just-concluded G20 summit in Cannes, France, and events in Athens, Greece, where MPs have begun debate on a confidence motion that could result in the fall of the government.

    Send us your comments by e-mail, text and tweet (details below the video viewer) and we'll try to post as many as we can.


    Television pictures from Athens show a throng of people in Syntagma Square, in front of the Greek parliament, waving banners and red flags, for a protest against austerity measures organised by the Communist Party.


    Greek Prime Minister is to address MPs at 23:30 (21:30 GMT), before the vote a half hour later, scheduled for midnight.


    The G20 has posted its final communique. Here's a taste:

    "Advanced economies commit to adopt policies to build confidence and support growth and implement clear, credible and specific measures to achieve fiscal consolidation. We welcome the decisions by European Leaders on October 26th, 2011 to restore debt sustainability in Greece, strengthen European banks, build firewalls to avoid contagion, and lay the foundations for robust economic governance reform in the Euro area and call for their swift implementation."

    1647: Christian Fraser BBC News, Cannes

    has crystallised the G20 communique into three points: it is important that highly-indebted countries reduce their debt; the IMF has been empowered to absorb shocks to the financial system from the debt crisis; and it is important that the plans already agreed upon to reform economies to reduce debt and restore growth should implemented as soon as possible.


    So what happens next? To help you through the various scenarios, the elves in the BBC business unit have crafted this explainer to possible resolutions to the eurozone crisis.

    Stratos Safioleas in Athens

    tweets: If PASOK gets no confidence vote then Greece goes to snap elections (probably demands at least 21 days for that) #Greece #euro

    Paul Daniels, Northwich, UK

    The Greek people don't deserve to be treated like this. Greece should leave euro, and return to drachma. They should also be given the money promised to them as if they'd stayed in euro to help them kickfire their economy.


    European stocks have closed down after the inconclusive Cannes G20 summit. The FTSE-100 in London fell a slight 0.33% but the CAC-40 in Paris shed 2.25%, the DAX-30 dropped 2.72% while Milan's stock exchange lost 2.66% and the euro dropped against the dollar, AFP reports.

    Phaidon Kyriazis in Athens

    tells the BBC: "It used to be a joke that [Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou] was indecisive, but it's not funny any more. He's in charge, he needs to lead."

    Rakesh Parbhoo in Johannesburg

    is taking a long view on all this. He tweets: Brilliant! - "Greece is collapsing, Iranians are getting aggressive & Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC"


    AFP news agency says some 70 MPs are set to address the Greek parliament before it votes on the confidence motion. Prime Minister's socialist Pasok party has a majority of two in the 300-seat chamber but it's not clear how many of his MPs will defy him. Some have demanded that he step down to make way for a unity government.


    Here's a view of Syntagma Square in Athens, next to the parliament, where a protest organised by Greece's Communist Party, is gathering steam.

    Protesters in Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece - 4 November 2011
    Nouriel Roubini

    tweets: G20:Kicking the Cannes down the road until hits a brick wall.US kicks deficit can; EZ kicks crisis can;China kicks currency can


    The leader of the Britain's opposition Labour party, Ed Miliband, has criticised the G20 meeting as a "do-nothing summit". He told the BBC: "This summit should not have been allowed to end without a far clearer solution to the problems of the eurozone and a clear plan for growth across the world."

    Stratos Safioleas in Athens

    has his own theory on why the Greek parliament is voting on the confidence motion so late. He tweets: I know it's hard to believe, but, YES at MIDNIGHT. The confidence vote in #Greece will start at 24:00. Because that's how we roll! #euro


    John Browne, writing in the Prison Planet blog, says Greek PM Papandreou's now-abandoned "seemingly democratic gesture" to hold a referendum was "more likely a political tactic to lure the opposition conservatives into sharing the political burden of passing the bailout deal... By calling for the referendum, Papandreou brilliantly forced their hand."


    An MP in Greece's ruling PASOK party, Elena Panaritis, who advises Mr Papandreou, says a lot is at stake in tonight's vote: "The vote is not for the prime minister. The vote is for the continuation of our government. It's going to be catastrophic for us to decide to have a no vote of confidence in our government because it will create a political havoc - and will continue feeding the [anarchy]... out on the streets."

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor, Cannes

    has been speaking to IMF chief Christine Lagarde about how well-resourced the IMF is to try to contain the European crisis. "For the moment I have sufficient resources to face requests," she said. "But if there was a crisis, if there were escalating demands, then the members of the IMF present in the room today said we'll put what it takes to make sure you can continue to play your systemic role," she insisted.

    1835: Christian Fraser BBC News, Cannes

    says the markets appear to have reacted quite negatively to the day's events at the G20 summit. It doesn't appear that there has been a commitment from the G20 countries towards Europe's expanded bailout fund. "So markets and commentators might well ask how they are going to get to the magic trillion-euro figure [for the bailout fund] - and do they have an effective firewall to protect the likes of Italy?"

    1840: James Robbins Diplomatic correspondent

    in Cannes says the G20 summit pushed Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi into accepting that the IMF should monitor his government's debt reduction programme. "Italy insists it volunteered, but this amounts to a public audit every quarter by the IMF," he says.

    Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor, Athens

    says whatever happens in the Greek parliament tonight, instability will continue to dominate the political scene for the next few weeks. If Mr Papandreou loses, almost certainly elections would follow, they would take weeks, and then we might not get a clear-cut result - there might well have to be coalition-building.

    And all that time, the markets would be looking and wondering whether in the end Greece would be able to emerge from its political instability and be able to sort out its economy. That's the problem - there is no sign that we will enter calm waters any time in the near future.


    If you're just joining us, welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the confidence vote in the Greek parliament. Prime Minister George Papandreou is due to address MPs before the vote scheduled for 22:00 GMT.


    There are now thousands of people massing in Syntagma Square near parliament in Athens, many of them waving communist party flags.

    Protesters in Athens. 4 Nov 2011

    One protester at the communist rally in Athens says: "Only one thing should concern the Greek people - how they can intervene drastically into [these] developments with organised political action, and overturn Papandreou and the policy that he expresses."

    1912: @Inflammatory in Athens, Greece

    tweets: Protesters in #Syntagma reportedly plan to stay until parliament talks come to an end tonight.


    In the debate, Environment Minister George Papaconstantinou has told MPs that "the widest possible agreement in the political system is needed" to ratify the EU bailout, AFP news agency reports. "The bailout deal requires this... that is why the government asks for a vote of confidence," he says.


    One MP, below, seems to have time for a word puzzle during the debate leading up to tonight's confidence vote in Athens.

    Communist party deputies during debate in Greek parliament. 4 Nov 2011

    Just to recap: In theory, Mr Papandreou's Socialist party (Pasok) has a majority of two in the 300-seat parliament, but a handful of his MPs have threatened to defy him. The result of tonight's confidence vote is still impossible to call.


    More than 70 MPs from all parties are addressing the Greek parliament before Mr Papandreou's scheduled speech at 21:30 GMT, AFP reports.

    1943: Nick Malkoutzis, Editor of Kathimerini, Greece's only daily English language newspaper

    tweets: Issue to look out for over next few days in #Greece if Pasok & New Democracy try to form emergency government: political legitimacy. Most recent opinion polls show Pasok & New Democracy struggling to gather 50% of the vote combined. Critics will argue an administration, even transitional, that might not represent even 1 in 2 Greeks can't negotiate new bailout. #greece


    As the vote nears, at least eight Socialist MPs have refused to say whether they will back Mr Papandreou, who has a majority of just two seats in parliament, according to AP news agency.


    US stocks have fallen amid the European uncertainty, ending four weeks of back-to-back gains. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 61.15 points (0.51%), the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 7.91 points (0.63%) and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 11.82 points (0.44%), Reuters reports.

    Allister Heath, Editor of City AM

    tweets: To those who can't read: I don't support bank bail outs. I think long-term Greece better off out of euro but extreme cost short-term. Sigh.

    Elle Meaux-Frendliemonsteur, Basingstoke, UK

    writes: Greece should concede to the strictures of the bailout and save the rest of the European Union from potential collapse. Greece is not alone in shouldering austerity measures and should consider the "bigger picture" before consigning itself, and potentially the rest of the global economy, to a deeper and darker recession.


    Economist Dr Dimitrios Syrrakos tells the BBC the best scenario in tonight's confidence vote would be for PM Papandreou to win the vote and then create a national emergency government to be in office for three to six months, to allow stability to return. Then normal elections could take place. But the opposition have said they want a coalition government in place for only six weeks, he says - that's not enough.

    Artemis, Athens, Greece

    writes: With less than an hour and a half to go till the MPs vote, and Papandreou still nowhere to be seen, this is beginning to look more like an 80s soap opera than a Greek tragedy. You can't help wondering whether he's staging a late arrival for extra drama or whether he has more sinister reasons for delaying his speech, on which the final decision of many MPs depends. After last week's announcement of the now ditched referendum, I wonder whether yet another bombshell will be dropped on Greeks (and Europeans) tonight.

    Ruth McDonald BBC News, Dublin

    Meanwhile in Ireland - which last year became the second eurozone country to be bailed out by the EU and IMF - the government has warned there are four more years of cuts to come. Measures to save 12.4 billion euros (\u00a310.7bn; $17.1bn) will need to be implemented to bring the country's deficit down to a target of 3% by 2015, as stipulated in the bailout agreement, Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced.

    Panos Haritos, Mid East Correspondent, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation

    tweets: This is the absolute humiliation of the democratic institutions & the #Greek parliament. #Papandreou to get vote of confidence & then leave.


    Greek PM George Papandreou has begun delivering a speech to the parliament in Athens ahead of tonight's confidence vote.


    Mr Papandreou says what an achievement it was to secure the bailout agreement last week - "an agreement that gives us security and safety, which guarantees our stake in Europe... An agreement that allows us to delete a large part of our loans, and pay very little interest on these payments. It makes our route a lot easier for the next years," he says. This agreement must not be lost - "it is a national priority", he says.


    Political parties must co-operate to "protect the people", PM Papandreou says.


    Mr Papandreou is defending proposing the referendum on the bailout deal which shocked political leaders in Europe, saying it would have been better for the Greek people to decide on the country's fate.


    tweets: #Greek vote timed to come after all exchanges closed so traders in EU have all weekend to drink absinthe and tear their hair out


    Mr Papandreou is calling for a coalition government, saying "honest and broad backing is called for".

    Janine Louloudi, Athens, Greece

    tweets: #Papandreou makes himself a martyr and a saviour in his speech before he resigns\u2026 #Greece


    Mr Papandreou tells lawmakers: "I don't care if I am elected Greek prime minister again."


    The Greek prime minister also warns that snap elections would be catastrophic for the country and jeopardise the bailout deal.


    Mr Papandreou says he intends to talk with four parties to form a wider coalition government. He also reveals that he will meet the country's president on Saturday to discuss this issue.


    Before finishing his address, Mr Papandreou asks for a vote of confidence so Greece could proceed immediately with coalition talks to form an "able" government.


    Greek MPs are now discussing the issue before the crucial vote of confidence.

    Amalia Negreponti, Athens, Greece

    tweets: He spoke of taking initiative from tomorrow, for formation of broad coalition government BUT #Papandreou he did not say he will not be the PM of the next government. He will probably try to remain in power!


    Mr Papandreou finished his speech, saying: "Our country is above us all!"

    George Papandreou addresses lawmakers in Athens
    Lola May, Richmond, London

    This is pick-and-mix democracy. If this were in the Middle East, the West would be condemning the crushing of the right of people to vote in a referendum. Yes, this would have consequences, but so did the war in Iraq, no-one asked the people what they wanted then.


    The leader of a small centre-right party Dora Bakoyanni says she is ready to co-operate in a coalition government, Reuters reports.


    Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is addressing MPs now. He says the shape of a new government is open to discussion, according to Reuters.

    Faisal Islam, C4 News

    tweets: GPap will talk to smaller parties so that he can get 180 votes in parliament. Samaras' ND left in cold.... If they win confidence vote...


    The much-awaited confidence vote has formally started now, with the registration of Greek MPs.

    Matthew Price BBC News, Athens

    says that whatever happens in this vote, the political chaos in Greece is unlikely to end and the economic uncertainty here and therefore across the eurozone will continue.


    Conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras rejects Mr Papandreou's call for a coalition government, saying "the only solution is elections", a spokesman for Mr Samaras' New Democracy party is quoted as saying by Reuters.

    Yannis Koutsomitis, Athens

    tweets: Samaras reject Papandreou's coalition gov't proposal. PASOK-LAOS-DESY coalition likely now. Rebel PASOK MPs vote yes. Papandreou will pass confidence vote.


    The government of George Papandreou wins the vote of confidence.


    More details on the vote. Parliamentary officials say 153 MPs backed the government, while 145 voted against.


    Mr Papandreou and his political allies burst into applause after the result was announced. The dramatic parliamentary session has now been closed.


    Nick Malkoutzis, a political journalist in Athens, tells the BBC: "This result brings very little certainty about the future as we don't know what kind of government we'll get." He adds that he still doesn't rule out snap elections.


    Thomas Papazavas, an investment analyst in London, describes the vote in Athens as "a gutsy decision". Speaking to the BBC, he says Greece's move to stick with the bailout plan is "the hardest but probably the wisest decision".

    2331: Mark Lowen BBC News, Athens

    says that Prime Minister George Papandreou has survived to fight another day - just. But in the long term, his prospects for remaining as leader seem to be fading fast.

    PM George Papandredou (first row, left) and members of his government applaud after winning the vote of confidence

    Despite the victory and all the congratulations in parliament, Mr Papandreous now faces a tough task of trying to form a government of national unity. Talks are expected to start on Saturday.


    That concludes our live coverage of Friday's dramatic events in Greece. However, you can still keep up to date with all the latest developments by checking the BBC news website.


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