BRUSSELS  - Eurozone finance ministers will seek Monday to finalise a second Greek bailout in a deal which they hope will also quell suggestions that Athens could be pushed out of the currency area.

The deal to write off 100 billion euros ($130 billion) of debt and provide a loan of 130 billion euros is contingent on painful new spending cuts that Athens must make despite violent protests.

Early Sunday, hundreds of people joined a protest in central Athens against the austerity measures that include a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage.

For the Greek caretaker government led by Lucas Papademos, time is of the essence because without the bailout Greece will be unable to meet a bond repayment of 14.5 billion euros on March 20.

After several false starts during weeks of what officials said was "deliberate pressure" to get the ruling class in Athens to change its economic mindset, a strong political and financial signal is now anticipated from the Eurogroup meeting.

EU partners see Greece as the victim of chronic financial mismanagement by dynastic political forces -- what Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti last week called a "perfect catalogue" of errors. Amid the deep scepticism, the new bailout has been likened to the aid equivalent of a hospital drip, with a small army of EU officials heading to Athens to make sure Greece delivers on its austerity pledges.

The Italian govt -- until recently, most at risk of financial-market contagion given a massive debt burden there -- said Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Monti and Greek counterpart Lucas Papademos were "confident that a deal can be reached on Greece at the Eurogroup," after telephone talks.