A woman holds a one euro coin and Greek one drachma coin in front of a Greek national flag
Greece grappled on Thursday with the notion of direct fiscal control from Brussels as it struggled to finalise a eurozone debt rescue and overcome mounting EU scepticism in time to avert bankruptcy.
As patience ran thin in Europe with Greek reform delays, tempers were rising in Athens towards a perceived toughening of rescue programme conditions and criticism of planned early elections in April, reports AFP.
European Union officials on Wednesday made clear they were stepping up surveillance of Greek state revenues and expenditure, with snap elections a cause for doubt about how reforms will be carried through.
Dutch Finance Minister, Jan Kees de Jager went a step further, warning on Thursday that Greece's eurozone bailout may be delayed until after the ballot.
"Ideally after the elections, you want to deal with rulers that you know will give their support to the package," De Jager was quoted in an interview with the influential Dutch financial daily, Het Financieele Dagblad.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was meeting with his political allies, the socialist and conservative party leaders, his office said, ahead of a cabinet meeting on Friday.
Eurozone leaders for several weeks have been negotiating Greece's desperately-needed rescue package of 130 billion euros in fresh loans and a write-down on privately-held government bonds worth 100 billion euros to avoid defaulting on debt owed on March 20.
Greek lawmakers approved on Sunday creditor-mandated austerity measures, including a 22-percent cut to the minimum wage, needed to unlock the rescue funds as rioters set buildings alight in central Athens.
"Soon they will tell us to abolish democracy in return for new loans," retorted Alexis Tsipras, head of the Left Coalition party and a strong critic of the 110-billion-euro EU-IMF fiscal adjustment programme signed by Greece in 2010.
Citizen's Protection Minister, Christos Papoutsis said additional demands on Greece would constitute "raw blackmail" and a "direct insult" to Greek dignity.
"I doubt if any other parliament in the European Union could accept such a programme of fiscal management," said Papoutsis, a former EU commissioner who is now seeking a greater role in his socialist party.
Greece had just managed to meet the latest EU-IMF requirements for the current financial year and secure the latest bailout, passing new unpopular legislation that caused several defections in parliament and street violence last weekend that left dozens injured and scores of damaged businesses in Athens.
Main unions GSEE and ADEDY on Thursday called for another protest on Sunday, and revealed plans for another general strike, the third this year.
"Democracy in Greece is irreparably hurt, it is now disabled," said GSEE chairman, Yiannis Panagopoulos.
Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos said late on Wednesday that a conference call by eurozone ministers had "clarified" how to plug a 325-million-euro hole in Greece's 2012 budget and that remaining issues would be worked out by Monday.
"Other issues, technical but basically political, will be prepared at a euro working group in Brussels on Sunday," Venizelos said, who warned dramatically on Wednesday that some countries no longer wanted Greece in the eurozone.
"This will in good time lead to a final decision" on the approval of the eurozone bailout and a "public announcement" on a debt swap with private creditors worth 100 billion euros on Monday, the minister said.
Eurogroup president, Jean-Claude Juncker had earlier said he was confident his colleagues could "take all the necessary decisions on Monday," when they next meet face-to-face in Brussels.