ATHENS (AFP) - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Sunday urged political parties to forge a "national accord" and back him in a confidence vote in order to overcome the economic crisis amid social unrest. "I have asked for a renewal of the confidence in the government because the country finds itself at a crucial point," Papandreou said at the opening of debate on a parliamentary vote of confidence in the new Greek cabinet. Papandreou revamped his government on Friday in the hope of securing the green light to forge ahead with further austerity measures, amid public protests. The major reshuffle came after a week of political wrangling including within the ranks of his socialist Pasok party and mounting pressure on the street. He axed finance minister George Papaconstantinou, who was blasted by fellow party cadres for failing to jumpstart the economy after an 18-month effort. In his place, switching from the defence portfolio, comes Evangelos Venizelos, a former party rival to Papandreou, who in press comments Sunday called for a political consensus over handling the country's debt crisis. The Greek government finds itself pinned between EU and IMF pressure to introduce ever tougher austerity measures in return for financial bailout and popular protest at those measures. A crowd of 3,000 people protested in the Greek capital on Saturday as the main private sector union announced strike action at the end of the month. The Greek lawmakers will debate the confidence vote in the new Greek government for three days, with a vote expected Tuesday night. Opening the debate, the prime minister stressed that his priority was "a national accord to tackle the Greek debt and deficit which are a national problem". A vote of confidence would boost Greece's voice among its partners as it seeks more international financial aid, he added. Papandreou said he understood "the sacrifices the country" is making and the street protests, adding that a referendum would be held in September to make progress on the large-scale reforms. Before that there will be a key parliamentary vote on a four-year austerity programme. The controversial budget plan, including 28.4 billion euros ($40.6 billion) of fiscal belt-tightening, must be adopted by the end of the month in order to convince creditor nations, the EU and the IMF to continue dishing out financial aid to the country. Eurozone finance ministers will begin talks later Sunday in Luxemburg aimed at unblocking the next tranche of loans to allow Greece to service its debts through the summer. They will also mull a second long-term bailout package, expected to almost match the 110 billion euro EU-IMF deal agreed last year. Papandreou's socialist Pasok party holds 155 of the 300 seats in the Greek parliament. He called for a confidence vote in order to calm the dissenters in his own party as well as to seek political consensus with the opposition on the right. The centre-right has so far refused to back the next round of austerity measures. Antonis Samaras, head of the centre-right New Democracy party, speaking in parliament after Papandreou, reiterated that its members "are not going to give a vote of confidence in the socialist government because Mr Papandreou insists on a policy which will not resolve the problems but will only aggravate them".