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Eurozone crisis

Greece reforms show progress, but at the cost of jobs

International lenders visiting Greece have said the Southern European nation has made progress in reforms it needs to implement to secure more loans. But some issues were reported to be outstanding.

On Thursday, representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank said that Greece was doing well with the reforms it needed to implement in order to receive the next tranche of emergency loans.

The troika delegation announced that it would be back in Athens in April to continue its review, adding that some additional technical work had to be done to settle unresolved aspects of the bailout deal.

"Significant progress has been made, but a few issues remain outstanding," the lenders said in a statement at the end of the 10-day visit to Greece.

Greeks seek future in Germany

Athens has already agreed to unpopular wage cuts and tax rises, but it also needs to present a detailed staffing plan spelling out where exactly thousands of civil servants are to be laid off.

Greece has already received more than 200 billion euros ($258 billion) in rescue loans since May 2010 as lenders have started wondering whether the government can continue implementing the ambitious cost-cutting reforms in the face of mounting public anger against the austerity measures.

Thursday's statement by the troika delegation coincided with the official release of Greek unemployment figures.

The national statistics authority announced that 1.3 million people were out of work in the final quarter of 2012, bringing the jobless rate to a record 26 percent, up from 24.8 percent in the previous three months. In the under-25 age group, the rate soared to 57.8 percent as the protracted recession in the country took a harsh toll on the workforce.

hg/rc (Reuters, AP)

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