Europe

Greece Officially Scraps Bailout Referendum, Finance Minister Says

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou returns to an emergency cabinet meeting after he took a short break at the Greek parliament in Athens, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. A spokesman for Greece's government says it is prepared to discuss an opposition demand for the creation of a transitional government to approve the latest European bailout deal and secure the next installment of rescue loans for the country. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou returns to an emergency cabinet meeting after he took a short break at the Greek parliament in Athens, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. A spokesman for Greece's government says it is prepared to discuss an opposition demand for the creation of a transitional government to approve the latest European bailout deal and secure the next installment of rescue loans for the country. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)  (AP2011)

ATHENS -- Greece on Friday officially called of its ill-fated plan for a referendum on whether to accept a European bailout deal.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a statement that European partners were informed of "Greece's decision not to hold a referendum."

Greek prime minister George Papandreou announced the referendum late Monday, surprising his Socialist party colleagues and enraging eurozone governments. The move sent global shares into free fall, and overshadowed the G-20 summit taking place in Cannes, France.

Venizelos himself broke ranks with Papandreou, saying he objected to a vote on whether the debt-hit country should stay in the euro.