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Eurozone to confer over Greece deal

business Updated: Apr 30, 2010 22:41 IST

Agencies
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European finance ministers will meet on Sunday in Brussels to discuss the Greek debt crisis, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Friday. “On Sunday, there will be a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers to discuss the Greek financial crisis.”

Greece is preparing severe austerity measures to secure the bailout of up to 120 billion euros, which investors hope will stop the debt crisis from sinking other fragile EU countries, but faces a battle with unions angered by the scale of cutbacks.

Union officials said the IMF asked Athens to cut the deficit by 10 per cent — roughly 24 billion euros — by raising sales taxes, scrapping bonuses amounting to two extra months pay in the public sector, and accepting a three-year pay freeze. They have called a series of strikes in the days ahead.

But Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the measures were vital to securing aid. “Many talk about red lines. The only red line is the country’s interest. Today the top priority is the survival of the nation. This is the red line,” Papandreou told Parliament.

“The measures we must take, which are economic measures, are necessary for our country's protection, for our future.”

German politicians have said the aid package could be worth 100-120 billion euros ($133-160 billion) over three years, against an original plan for 45 billion euros of aid in 2010.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Josef Ackermann is helping coordinate efforts by Germany’s private sector to support a rescue package for Greece, a senior banking source said.

The consortium has already pledged to contribute between 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) and 2 billion towards the effort, which could involve buying Greek government debt, although no formal agreement has been struck, the source said.

Hopes of a quick Greek aid deal helped push up global equities on Friday and the euro was 0.5 per cent higher at $1.3301.