19 May 2012

Germany denies suggesting Greek referendum

12:49 pm on 19 May 2012

A row has broken out over a claim that German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested debt-stricken Greece should vote on whether it should stay in the euro zone.

Athens said Mrs Merkel had suggested Greece could hold a referendum on the euro when it votes in national elections next month during a telephone call with the Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

A statement from the office of Greece's interim prime minister said that Mrs Merkel had suggested the vote during a telephone call with Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

But a German government spokeswoman denied such a proposal had been made.

The dispute emerged as Angela Merkel arrived in the United States for the G8 summit expected to be dominated by the eurozone turmoil.

Greece's caretaker government was sworn in this week after elections failed to produce a viable coalition to run the country. New elections have been scheduled for 17 June.

The result of the poll could determine the fate of austerity measures which Greece's international creditors are insisting on.