Greek finance minister slams referendum


Greece's finance minister is breaking ranks with prime minister George Papandreou over his call to hold a referendum on a hard-fought European debt deal to rescue the country's economy.

Evangelos Venizelos issued a written statement today on returning from an emergency meeting in Cannes, France, where he accompanied prime minister George Papandreou for meetings with top European officials.

After the meeting, the French and Germany leaders said a Greek vote would decide whether the country stays in the eurozone, and vowed Athens would not get critical bailout funds until after the vote.

Mr Venizelos said Greece's position within the euro was a "historic conquest" of the country that "cannot be put in doubt" and "cannot depend on a referendum".