Greek jobless at fresh high as PM meets Obama

GREEK Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with US President Barack Obama yesterday, promising to continue reforms as the country registered another rise in unemployment.

May’s figures on the number of jobless people in the troubled Mediterranean economy confirmed another increase, to 27.6 per cent, up to 1.38m people, the highest of any country in the Eurozone.

The level of unemployment for under-25s also reached a new high, to an eye-watering 64.9 per cent.

Obama said the US would support Greece in its structural changes, but there was little detail on what form such assistance might take.

Vice president Joe Biden said: “The Greek people are living through an incredibly difficult period as they cope with the economic crisis that has lasted four years and has required enormous sacrifice”.

The European Central Bank (ECB) also released its monthly bulletin yesterday, making further indications that it expects inflation to remain low, allowing the Bank to keep interest rates down for an extended period.

Inflation had initially been expected to be 1.6 per cent this year in the Eurozone, and 1.7 per cent in 2014, but the ECB dropped its forecast to 1.5 per cent for both years, further away from the official target of close to, but just below two per cent.

The ECB remained committed to bringing the euro area’s debt ratios down, saying: “Countries should not unravel their efforts to reduce government budget targets”. By the Bank’s projections, unemployment across the currency union will continue to rise into 2014, before beginning to decline the year after.