G20 leaders meet amid signs of splits over Greece vote
Greece’s finance minister has said a planned referendum on its latest bailout package must not be about the country’s future in the eurozone.
Evangelos Venizelos also said the next 8bn-euro (£7bn) tranche of bailout funds should be released immediately.
His comments are in defiance of the Greek prime minister and eurozone leaders, who tied the referendum to whether Greece remains in the eurozone.
The issue is likely to dominate Thursday’s G20 meeting in Cannes.
Mr Venizelos issued a statement in the early hours of Thursday after attending crisis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“Greece’s position within the euro area is a historic conquest of the country that cannot be put in doubt. This achievement by the Greek people cannot depend on a referendum,” he said.
Earlier, Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou said that his shock decision to call a national vote on the bailout package was effectively a decision on the country remaining part of the euro bloc.
Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy had made clear that Athens would not receive its next 8bn euros in emergency funds until the referendum had passed.