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Euro zone unemployment rate stable in February

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Unemployment in the euro zone declined slightly in February, although the rate remained at 11.9 percent after downward revisions of the past few months, the European statistics office Eurostat said on Tuesday. Eurostat said in a statement that 18.97 million people in the 18-country euro zone were unemployed in February, a decrease of about 35,000 from last month.

European economic recovery not strong enough to make dent in near-record unemployment rate

BRUSSELS - The 18-country eurozone may have emerged from recession last year, but that has done little good to the jobs market, with unemployment stuck near a record high since then. A new report on Tuesday showed that while the number of jobless in the currency union dipped in February, the unemployment rate remained at 11.9 per cent — where it has been since October after peaking at 12.1 per cent earlier in the year.

EU calls on France, Greece to stick to reforms

Eurozone officials urged France's incoming government on Tuesday to stick to reform pledges, and Greece to capitalise on its austerity sacrifices in return for a long-delayed 6.3-billion-euro slice of bailout cash. The loan disbursal announced at a two-day meeting of European finance ministers, after seven months of tough talks between Greece and its EU-IMF creditors, will enable Athens to repay maturing debt in May. As Greece closed one more difficult chapter in its slow recovery, France seemed headed for a fiscal discipline dispute with the EU.

Hollande puts growth before EU rigour, Italian style

French President Francois Hollande is going for growth rather than focusing fully on meeting EU deficit rules, in line with a precedent set by the new government in Italy, but his options are narrow. The head of eurozone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned on Tuesday that France and Italy must respect rules on controlling their finances. "We need to continue working on the stabilisation of budgets and at the same time become more competitive," Dijsselbloem said in Athens.

Euro zone ministers to discuss Portugal's exit from bailout on May 5

ATHENS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers will discuss the best way for Portugal to fully return to market financing at their meeting on May 5, the chairman of the ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a news conference on Tuesday. Portugal will exit from its 3-year international bailout, which allowed it to borrow from the euro zone bailout fund rather than markets, on May 17.

Eurozone unemployment rate dips below 12% in February

The Eurozone unemployment rate dipped to 11.9 percent in February, according to official data on Tuesday which also slightly revised the rates for recent months. There were about 18.96 million unemployed people in the eurozone in February, down 35,000 from the January level and 166,000 from a year earlier, the Eurostat statistics agency said. Unemployment rates were lowest in Austria, with a jobless rate of 4.8 percent, Germany with 5.1 percent and Luxembourg at 6.1 percent.

France, Italy must continue reforms

France's incoming cabinet and Italy's recently installed new team should stick to reforms that will help make Europe more competitive, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Tuesday. "We need to continue working on the stabilisation of budgets and at the same time become more competitive," Dijsselbloem told reporters ahead of a eurozone finance ministers' meeting in Athens. "That requires more reforms, also in France," he added, in a message also directed to Italy.

Greece to get 6.3 bn euro loan slice in April

Greece will receive 6.3 billion euros ($8.7 billion) from its pending EU bailout fund at the end of April, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Tuesday. "A first tranche of 6.3 billion euros at the end of April will allow Greece to meet its debt servicing needs in May," Dijsselbloem said during a Eurogroup meeting in Athens. He added that two more slices of 1.0 billion euros will be disbursed in June and July, noting that the release was tied to Greek progress on pledged reforms.

Eurozone unemployment rate dips below 12% in February

The Eurozone unemployment rate dipped below 12.0 percent in February, according to official data on Tuesday which also revised the rates for recent months. There were about 18.96 million unemployed people in the eurozone in February, down 35,000 from the January level and 166,000 from a year earlier, the Eurostat statistics agency said. arp/ccr/hd

OECD inflation falls to 1.4%, crimped by energy prices

Weak energy prices pushed down inflation in advanced countries to 1.4 percent in February from 1.7 percent in January, the OECD said on Tuesday against a background of concern that eurozone inflation is too low. In the eurozone, inflation "slowed to 0.7 percent in February, compared with 0.8 percent in January," the OECD said. Referring to the overall figures, it said that "this slowdown in the annual rate of inflation was driven by energy prices which fell by 0.4 percent in the year to February compared with an increase of 2.1 percent in the year to January."
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