Eurogroup to sign up to a Greek rescue

EUROGROUP nations will meet in Brussels today with a view to giving the final go-ahead to Greece’s second bailout so that their parliaments can ratify the rescue in quick succession.

The IMF must also decide on and approve its share of the bailout money this week, though first it must conclude that the rescue would make Greece’s debt sustainable – a conclusion shared by few economists.

There could also be discussion of boosting the Eurozone’s bailout fund and how the successor to Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured) will be chosen. German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble was quoted as saying that countries with triple-A credit ratings should get more of a say in his replacement.

In Athens, the focus shifted to the country’s imminent elections, with the major parties all languishing in the polls due to voting to embrace the conditions of Greece’s rescue.

Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos will be the only candidate for leadership of the Socialist PASOK party, which was the ruling party before it was forced to share power with rivals. PASOK now polls in the single digits.

Meanwhile, there were mass protests in Spain over austerity measures, with officials estimating that over 100,000 people turned out to demonstrate against labour market reforms.

The changes aim to make it cheaper to hire and fire people in order to help reduce the country’s crippling unemployment, which is over 20 per cent.

Two of the country’s biggest unions put up speakers to condemn the centre-right government led by Mariano Rajoy, which is pushing cuts. They put the national turnout at more than 1m.

Unions have voted for a general strike on 29 March.