The German economy will grow between 3 and 4% this year as coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the country's economy minister said.
"By 2022, Germany will have recovered its old strength," Peter Altmaier predicted in comments to German tabloid Bild on Saturday.
It is a positive forecast for Europe's largest economy that shrank by almost 5% last year as entire sectors were put on hold amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Altmaier's comments come as nationwide, the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days fell to 87.3 on Saturday — 100 infections per 100,000 is the level at which German states can begin removing certain restrictions.
'Returning to normality'
"Our measures are taking effect, millions of people have been vaccinated, the infection numbers are dropping, the dynamic of the pandemic has been broken. That is why more and more regions are beginning to open. Step by step we are returning to normality," Altmaier told Bild.
He said he was hopeful that summer vacations could go ahead in Germany and Europe "if we are careful."
He added as vaccinated and recovered people got their rights back, "the light at the end of the long coronavirus tunnel has been reached."
'Decisions still need to be made'
Altmaier remained cautious, saying that: "decisions still need to be made about when all sectors can re-open."
While he praised Germany's economic stimulus package, he said some hard-hit sectors would need to see an extension of state aid.
What have other finance bodies predicted?
The German government has generally been less optimistic than other forecasters, such as research institutes. In mid-April, several think tanks — including the prestigious Ifo institute — forecast a common growth prediction of 3.7%.
Their predictions were based on the likelihood that mass inoculations could accelerate a return to normality.
Ifo said that business morale had improved only slightly in April. While this was partly attributable to coronavirus, the institute said, it was also because of a semiconductor shortage that has dogged the motor vehicle industry.