The EU said on Friday it had decided to give financial assistance worth USD 1.98 billion to Cyprus.

Olli Rehn, the EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, however, said that international creditors would gradually exit aid programme for debt-stricken countries in Europe.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem stressed political stability was of utmost importance for Italy. For Portugal, he warned that it was important to stick to "what they have agreed within the programme, also including the deficit targets.

Speaking about Greece, Rehn said, "We will assess the financial needs and the fiscal gap in Greece in the review mission starting on Monday. At this stage, it is too early to give figures."

Rehn said that unemployment remained at dramatic levels in southern Europe, making economic reforms in these countries all the more important.

According to the data released by Eurostat, the number of employed decreased 0.1 percent in the euro zone, showing that the bloc's labour market remains in bad shape.


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