Youths take part in an anti-austerity rally in front of the parliament in Athens
Greece's cabinet tackled on Saturday how to implement austerity demanded by the EU and IMF as a 130-billion-euro ($171-billion) rescue seemed within reach, while the euro zone considered modifying a deal with private creditors to help Athens reduce its huge debts.
After months of often acrimonious negotiations, Greek hopes were rising that euro zone finance ministers Monday will endorse the rescue which Athens needs to avoid bankruptcy next month when major debt repayments fall due, reports Reuters.
A statement from the office of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said the cabinet would discuss implementing the bailout package which demands pay, pension and job cuts on top measures that have already hit many Greeks' living standards.
The cabinet is due to approve measures that already provoked rioting on the streets of Athens last Sunday before they go into a supplementary budget due to be put to parliament next week.
"The Greek people have done everything they can and we are determined to make good on our commitments," Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis told reporters as he arrived. Many EU officials remain deeply sceptical of Athens's will to reform.
Also on the agenda is the future of the old Athens airport, a prime seafront site that lies derelict more than a decade after the new airport opened, symbolizing the wasted opportunities which have helped to reduce Greece to its knees.
Friday German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti and Papademos all voiced optimism about a Greek accord during a three-way conference call, Monti's office said in a statement.
However, Jean-Claude Juncker, who will chair Monday's meeting of the Eurogroup in Brussels, made clear that urgent work was still needed to get a program to reduce Greece's crippling debts back on track.