Greece's finance minister says he believes Greece's battered economy will begin to recover starting next year, with the country's massive unemployment rate starting to fall from the end of 2014 onwards.
Speaking in an interview broadcast on Thursday morning on state-run NET television, Yannis Stournaras said the government's aim was to achieve a primary surplus - a surplus without taking into account interest payments on outstanding debt - by the end of this year.
Stournaras says this would allow the country to ask its international creditors for some further debt relief.
Greece has been relying on billions of euros in international rescue loans since mid-2010 after excessive debt and a huge budget deficit left it facing imminent bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, Greek unemployment climbed to 27 per cent of the workforce in February compared with 26.7 per cent a month earlier, the state statistics agency said on Thursday.
The number of unemployed rose to 1,320,189 while 3,568,186 were registered as employed.
The highest rate was registered for youths aged 15-24, at 64.2 per cent.
A year ago in February unemployment had been 21.9 per cent, the agency said.
The jobless rate for January had been originally measured at 27.2 per cent but was revised downwards.
Women were more likely to be unemployed, at a rate of 31 per cent compared with 24.1 per cent for men.