Greece staying in euro zone is only option now -EU Commission

BRUSSELS Thu Nov 3, 2011 7:40am EDT

BRUSSELS Nov 3 (Reuters) - The place of Greece is within the euro zone and there are instruments in place to ensure that, the European Union's executive arm said on Thursday, adding that it considered this was the only option on the table.

"We see Greece within the euro and the necessary instruments are in place and an agreement has been reached," European Commission spokeswoman Karolina Kottova told a regular news briefing. "So, as far as we are concerned, this is the only option that is on the table."

Greece's government was on the brink of collapse on Thursday, casting doubt on plans to hold a referendum on staying in the euro zone, as European leaders contemplated a Greek exit to preserve the single currency.

Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired an emergency cabinet meeting in Athens, with his finance minister in revolt against a plebiscite, after the leaders of France and Germany gave Greeks an ultimatum to make up their minds.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Papandreou at a meeting in Cannes on Wednesday that Athens would not receive a cent more in aid until it votes to meet its commitments to the euro zone. Greece was due a vital 8 billion euros instalment this month.

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