WRAPUP 1-Greece awaits rescue package, protesters decry cuts

* Multi-billion euro bailout expected to be announced

* Greek PM to hold televised cabinet meeting

* Thousands of Greeks protest against planned cuts

By Ingrid Melander

ATHENS, May 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Greece hopes to secure a deal with
the European Union and the IMF for a multi-billion euro
financial bailout to be announced on Sunday, a day after
thousands protested in Athens against planned state cutbacks.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is to hold a
televised cabinet meeting at 0630 GMT which is expected to
confirm a deal has been reached, a government official said on
Saturday.

The EU plans to give its go-ahead to the aid — which will
come in return for tough austerity measures in Greece — at a
meeting of euro zone finance ministers at 1400 GMT in Brussels.

Greece and its international backers hope the deal, which
could reach up to 120 billion euros ($159.8 billion), will help
stem a crisis that has hit the euro and shaken markets
worldwide.

Greek, European and IMF officials remained tight-lipped late
on Saturday and declined to say whether a deal on the terms of
the package had been reached in talks in Athens.

The Greek government official had said earlier in the day
that the debt-choked country expected the talks to be concluded
some time on Saturday, adding that the Sunday morning cabinet
meeting was meant to confirm the deal.

“The cabinet meeting will confirm the deal and after that
the Finance Minister (George Papaconstantinou) will announce the
deal in a press conference. He will then fly to participate in
the Eurogroup,” the government official had told Reuters,
referring to the Brussels meeting.

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Greek Crisis page Top News: http://r.reuters.com/hus75h
Euro zone crisis in graphics: http://r.reuters.com/fyw72j
Timeline: http://r.reuters.com/nyh29j
For a factbox on Greek budget waste [ID:nLDE63S0AX]
For assessment of deficit cut targets [ID:nLDE63T0NH]
For a full overview of stories on the crisis [ID:nLDE6351JT]
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All other steps taken so far by Greece and the EU have
failed to calm months of market jitters that have brought the
country’s borrowing costs to record highs and also affected
other peripheral euro zone countries.

MAY DAY PROTEST

Analysts say whatever ultimately happens in the Greek debt
crisis, investors are having to come to grips with an unstable
euro zone. [ID:nLDE63T0XF]

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Saturday
she expected a package of 100-120 billion euros ($133-$160
billion) to help Greece out of its debt crisis, and had “good
hopes” a deal could be reached by the end of this weekend.

A bailout will come in return for draconian budget cuts in
Greece, where thousands marched on May Day shouting slogans
against austerity measures they say only hurt the poor and will
drag the country further into recession.

“No to the IMF’s junta!,” protesters chanted, referring to
the military dictatorship which ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.
“Hands off our rights! IMF and EU Commission out!,” the
protesters shouted as they marched to parliament.

More than half of Greeks say they will take to the streets
if the government agrees to new austerity measures, according to
an ALCO poll released on Friday by the newspaper Proto Thema.

European banks will contribute to Greece’s bailout, Germany
said on Friday, and that could make it easier for EU governments
to persuade taxpayers to rescue Greece from its debt crisis.

If euro states fail to engineer a Greek bailout that calms
markets, they could end up footing a bill of half a trillion
euros ($650 billion) to save several nations, economists say.

Markets have worried that countries such as Portugal and
Spain, whose debt was downgraded by ratings agencies this week,
could be threatened unless they tackle their deficits swiftly.

The IMF believes it will take 10 years for Greece to
overcome its financial problems, according to a report to appear
in Monday’s Der Spiegel magazine. [nLDE640039]

Investing Basics
(Additional reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Charles
Dick)

WRAPUP 1-Greece awaits rescue package, protesters decry cuts