Kerin Hope
November 3, 2011

George Papandreou, Greek prime minister, has scrapped a controversial plan to hold a referendum on the heavily indebted country’s membership of the European Union and eurozone.

The U-turn by the embattled premier was announced during an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday and followed a high-pressure meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, and Angela Merkel, German chancellor in which the offer of a €8bn loan from the EU was temporarily withdrawn.

Defending his decision Mr Papandreou said: “We had a dilemma: consensus or a referendum … Failure to back the package would mean the beginning of our departure from the euro. But if we have consensus, then we don’t need a referendum.”

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