German Chancellor Angela Merkel got a hostile reception from many ordinary Greeks when she flew into Athens on her first visit since its debt crisis erupted.
But she praised the current government for covering "much of the ground" required for recovery.
"I hope and wish that Greece remains a member of the eurozone," she said. "As partners, we are working hard to achieve that."
Her visit triggered protests attended by 50,000 demonstrators in Athens. The rallies were mostly peaceful, but police briefly clashed with several dozen demonstrators and detained nearly 200 people throughout the day.
As Europe's largest contributor to the bailout fund that has rescued Greece from bankruptcy, Germany is viewed by many Greeks as the primary enforcer of the austerity measures the Greek government enacted in exchange for emergency aid.
Mrs Merkel, who stopped in Athens for five hours, said the coalition government led by prime minister Antonis Samaras still had to push through more key cost-cutting reforms. Much of the ground has been covered ... There is daily progress," she said "This is an effort that should be seen through because otherwise it would make the circumstances even more dramatic later on."
Although the German leader damped expectations in Athens of a stronger message of public support for Greece, Mr Samaras said the visit had ended "the country's international isolation."
Greece has depended on bailouts from Europe and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. To get the loans, it has implemented a series of deep budget cuts and tax hikes, while increasing retirement ages and facilitating private sector layoffs. However, Athens must pass further austerity measures over the next two years to qualify for its next rescue loan payment - without which the government will run out of cash next month.
Mrs Merkel's stop in Athens was welcomed by the Greek government as a much-needed boost for the country's future in Europe - but protesters viewed it as a harbinger of further austerity and hardship. Dozens of youths broke away from the peaceful rally and threw rocks and flares at riot police, who responded with pepper spray and stun grenades, in clashes that were relatively minor.
More than 7,000 police had cordoned off parks and other sections of city to keep demonstrators away from the German leader. As a helicopter buzzed overhead, thousands of protesters, chanting "History is written by the disobedient" gathered in front of Greek parliament. One group of demonstrators burned a Swastika and threw it onto a police barrier, while a group of special forces reservists appeared in uniform and chanted "Merkel out of Greece" in time to their march.