- Second Greek bailout 'to be approved by eurozone finance ministers today'
- 3,000 protesters clash with riot police in Athens over cuts as Greek PM Lucas Papademos flies to Brussels to seal bailout deal
Last updated at 1:20 PM on 20th February 2012
Warning: Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, told Britions in Greece to prepare to leave if the country goes under
It comes as eurozone ministers prepare to sign off another £108billion rescue package for the crippled economy.
Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed Britons were being urged to register with the consulate as officials are updating plans to evacuate citizens ‘on a daily basis’ in case Greece goes under.
There has been widespread civil unrest in the country as the prospect of it defaulting on its loans and exiting the euro has grown.
Last night 3,000 protesters clashed with riot police in Athens as Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos flew to Brussels for last-minute preparations to seal the bailout deal.
As demonstrators poured into he capital's central Syntagma square riot police shielded the national assembly.
Economists do not expect the new package to resolve Greece's economic problems which could take up to a decade to tackle.
French finance minister Francois Baroin told Europe-1 radio that Europe's leaders were committed to agreeing a new bailout package.
'We now have all the elements of a deal - elements of a participation that remains voluntary for banks and private lenders, and for public lenders states, central banks,' he said.
'We hope we and the Eurogroup members can take into account all the Greek government has been done for several weeks - even several months,' he said.
Protests: A petrol bomb explodes near riot police officers in Athens last night during fresh protests over austerity measures in Athens
Riots: Protesters are clashing with police on a daily basis now as authorities try to keep a lid on public fury over crippling austerity initiatives
Mr Hague said the bailout was a matter for Greece and the eurozone, but the UK wanted ‘an end to the uncertainty’.
He added: ‘We have prepared contingency plans if we need to help British nationals who are there in any way. We keep those up to date on a daily basis.’
Fellow Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt called on Britons in Greece to ‘register with a consular system so we can find them in situations of emergency’.
He added: ‘No UK national who is there at the moment is unaware of what’s happening, so we’ve got systems in place... should the worst happen.’
Austerity anger: A protester attacks police during a demonstration in Athens' main Syntagma square last night as the Greek parliament prepares to vote on cuts needed before a £108bn EU bailout
While there is still scepticism in Germany and other countries that Greece will be able to live up to its commitments - including implementing €3.3 billion euros of spending cuts and tax increases - officials said the deal is close to being signed off.
But the prospect of further disturbances in Greece loomed again when Germany was accused of seeking to undermine democracy in Athens.
Eurozone finance chiefs will consider a German proposal to ban the Greeks from receiving cash unless they delay their general election due in April.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble wants to keep a technocratic Greek government in place to ensure austerity measures are taken.
Storm: Riot police spray tear gas during the demonstration involving 3,000 people in Syntagma Square last night - a week after a much larger protest
Fury: Protesters outside the Greek Parliament campaign against plans by Lucas Papademos' government to save more than 3.3billion euros by cutting benefits and the minimum wage
But Eurosceptics condemned the plans.
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘Greece is the birthplace of democracy and they fought valiantly against aggression during the Second World War to stop losing their identity.
‘What they’re being asked to do is sacrifice their sovereignty to stop them from going bust. It’s a recipe for utter disaster.
‘Good money is being poured after bad. They need to come out of the euro, devalue their currency and default on their debts. That’s the only future for Greece if they want to be a proud independent nation again.’
Mark Pritchard, secretary of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said: ‘If true, this is a dangerous precedent which should be resisted at all costs.
‘Unless people have a stake in the future of their countries, they will be less likely to accept the remedies required.’
The Greek Minister for International Economic Affairs, Constantine Papadopoulos, denied that Greece has any contingency plan for a default.
He said: ‘No, because that would destroy the economy. You don’t factor in options that will kill off any hope for redemption.
‘Now we have to work within a very strict plan in the hope of returning back to growth and becoming a full-fledged member of the eurozone again. Not exit the eurozone.’
Under one crucial element of the new bailout deal, Greece will have around €100 billion of debt written off via a restructuring involving private-sector holders of Greek government bonds.
The overall objective is to reduce Greece's debts from 160 per cent of GDP to around 120 per cent by 2020 to put their debt on a more sustainable footing.