LONDON: The European Union economy grew at its fastest pace in a decade last year, figures from the EU statistics office Eurostat have confirmed.
The 28-strong EU expanded by 2.5% in 2017, its strongest performance since 2007, when it grew by 2.7%. In the final three months both the EU and the 19-nation eurozone grew by 0.6% compared with the previous quarter. That was mirrored by growth in the EU’s biggest economy, Germany, which grew by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2017.
France also expanded by 0.6%, while Spanish growth was a notch stronger at 0.7%. Overall in 2017, the eurozone grew by 2.5%, Eurostat said, the fastest growth rate since a 3% rise in 2007.
These latest figures confirm the flash estimates published by Eurostat at the end of January, which were based on more limited data.
Investec economist Ryan Djajasaputra said much of the growth last year had been driven by the eurozone’s core four economies: Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
However, Eastern European economies, including Latvia and Slovakia, were growing “particularly fast”, he added.
He attributed the strength of the eurozone to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) stimulus policies, which have brought down the cost of borrowing in recent years.