Nov. 2 - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held talks with European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF chief Christine Lagarde ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes, as EU leaders have told Greece it needs to hold a referendum by December 4. Joanna Partridge reports.
Ready for a showdown with his paymasters. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has been called to the French resort town of Cannes ahead of the G20 summit to tell European leaders like France's Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel why he's called a referendum on the latest EU bailout. That scuppered EU plans to present their solution to the euro zone debt crisis at the G20 meeting of leaders from major world economies. Even before the start of the summit, Merkel, Sarkozy, head of the IMF Christine Lagarde and others were holding a working dinner to discuss Greece. France and Germany told Athens on Wednesday it should decide by mid-December whether it wants to stay in the euro zone when Greeks vote on the 130-billion-euro bailout in the referendum. Before the talks, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned Greeks they will suffer if they don't vote in favour of the EU rescue package. SOUNDBITE: EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING (English): "Without the agreement of Greece to the programmes supported by the European Union and IMF, the conditions for Greek citizens will become much more painful, particularly for the most vulnerable. The consequences will be impossible to foresee. That is why I call on the Greek government and all of political leaders of Greece to show that they are ready to work for national unity." Many have accused European leaders of not showing leadership during the entire euro zone debt crisis. As the world turns its attention to Cannes the EU is trying to prove it can deal with Greece's debt, prevent Athens' problems spreading to more important economies like Italy, and combine this with plans to boost growth. And that is quite a challenge. Joanna Partridge in Cannes for Reuters