Greece could call a referendum or have early elections should its euro zone partners reject its debt and growth plans, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a newspaper interview on Sunday.
The new Greek government, led by Alexis Tsipras, won an election in January promising to renegotiate a bailout agreed with the International Monetary Fund and its European Union partners that requires strict budget discipline and sweeping economic reforms.
The government reached a temporarily deal with its lenders last month and Athens has until the end of April to specify the reforms it will make in exchange for further aid. Euro zone finance ministers are meeting on Monday in Brussels to discuss a letter of pledged reforms sent by Athens last week.
Should Brussels ultimately reject Greece's proposals, Varoufakis told Italian daily Corriere della Sera: "There could be problems. But, as my prime minister has said, we are not yet glued to our chairs. We can return to elections, call a referendum."
In a statement released later on Sunday, the Greek Finance Ministry said that Varoufakis was responding to a hypothetical question and that any referendum would "obviously regard the content of reforms and fiscal policy" and not whether to stay in the euro, as Corriere della Sera had suggested.
Most Greeks want the country to keep the euro, but two-thirds also continue to back the government's tough stance to renegotiate the bailout package.