Labour Minister Louka Katseli on Wednesday expressed optimism that the downward spiral of the economy will be reversed by the end of 2011 and in 2012 the country will return to positive growth rates.

In a press conference in Thessaloniki, where she met with mayor Yiannis Boutaris and local government officials, she underlined that “caution is necessary when referring to future developments in the economy,” stressing that “they are affected by many factors and mainly by the Eurozone decisions.”

Katseli referred to the unemployment problem, backed the utilization of the state-owned real property, and underlined that strategic public utility companies should remain under public control.

The labour minister unveiled two programmes with a total budget of 52 million euros aimed at tackling unemployment in the Central Macedonia Region of northern Greece.