By Matthias Sobolewski and Renee Maltezou

BERLIN/ATHENS, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Euro zone countries held intensive talks on Wednesday on a possible rescue for Greece, whose debt crisis has shaken the entire currency union, as civil servants staged the first big strike against Athens’ austerity plans.

Financial markets gave Greece some respite as investors hoped that other European governments would help Athens to head off a possible default on its debt repayments.

Finance ministers of the 16 countries that share the common European currency scheduled a video conference for Wednesday to discuss the issue, a European Commission spokesman said.

However, EU law offers no clear procedure for staging the first bailout of a euro zone country in the currency’s 11-year history.

One possibility was for individual countries to offer bilateral aid and Germany, one of the few whose finances are in anything like a fit state to do so, might take a leading role. This could sidestep rules which restrict financial rescues at an EU or euro zone level.