The euro-zone unemployment rate has unexpectedly jumped to 8.5 percent -- the latest sign that the 16 euro-zone economies are deteriorating faster than expected amid the global financial downturn.
Economists are revising their full-year forecasts
The EU statistics office said unemployment in the euro zone rose to 8.5 percent in February. Some 319,000 more people were seeking work in the euro zone than in January, when unemployment was at 8.3 percent.
Analysts said they expect the unemployment rate to reach about 10 percent later in the year, as the recession deepens.
More pressure on ECB
The latest figures are likely to increase the pressure on the European Central Bank, which was set to meet Thursday, April 2, to discuss lowering euro-zone interest rates.
On Wednesday, the European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, said the jobless rate across the entire 27-nation bloc is now 7.9 percent, up from 7.7 percent in January.
Unemployment is highest in Spain at 15.5 percent, Latvia at 14.4 percent and Lithuania at 13.7 percent. All three have been hit hard by the bursting of a housing bubble and a sharp economic downturn.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Russia to change course on the unrest in eastern Ukraine. His comments followed Russia's announcement that it would resume military exercises near the border.
The International Monetary Fund has said it will consider a funding package for Ukraine after receiving the necessary documents. Any financial backing will require Kyiv to introduce tough austerity measures.
Many citizens view EU institutions as corrupt and not transparent. Even though Brussels is fighting corruption better than many member states, it needs to do far more, accoring to a study by Transparency International.
It's one of Berlin's secret gems. They've been racing horses at Hoppegarten for 150 years, so the circuit is a monument to history - as well as a fine picnic spot. DW's Jefferson Chase tried his luck at the track.