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Greek PM prepares for showdown with Merkel and Sarkozy tonight

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By James White

The Greek prime minister was today preparing for a tense showdown with the leaders of France and Germany after he announced shock plans to hold a referendum on his country's emergency bail-out.

George Papandreou has arrived in Cannes, France, after securing his ministers' support for the vote in a mammoth seven-hour cabinet meeting last night. The referendum could take place next month.

If Greece rejects the austerity measures - part of a package to stop the sovereign debt crisis spreading, Europe faces being plunged into an economic catastrophe.

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