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EU sees steady, modest eurozone growth

The 18-nation eurozone economy will grow 1.2 percent this year, as previously estimated, the European Commission said on Monday, but it cut its 2015 forecast to 1.7 percent from 1.8 percent.

BRUSSELS: The European Commission tweaked its 2014 and 2015 economic forecasts on Monday but left intact an overall outlook for gradual recovery from a record recession.

The Commission stressed again the need for all member states to stick to the reforms and measures agreed to tackle the global slump and ensuing debt crisis, saying this was vital for continued growth.

The 18-nation eurozone economy will grow by 1.2 percent this year, as previously estimated, it said, while cutting its 2015 forecast to 1.7 percent from 1.8 percent.

The full 28-member European Union economy will expand 1.6 percent in 2014, up from the previous estimate of 1.5 percent, and grow 2.0 percent in 2015, unchanged from the earlier forecast.

The estimates rest "on the assumption that the agreed policy measures will be implemented... taking forward" steps to stabilise the public finances and open up the economy, the Commission said.

"The recovery has now taken hold. Deficits have declined, investment is rebounding and, importantly, the employment situation has started improving," acting economic affairs commissioner Siim Kallas said in a statement.

"Continued reform efforts... are paying off," Kallas said.

Among member states' economies, the Commission forecast Germany to expand 1.8 percent and 2.0 percent respectively this year and next, unchanged from its February estimates, while France was seen lagging behind, on 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent, compared with February's estimates of 1.0 percent and 1.7 percent.

Italy will expand 0.6 percent and 1.2 percent, unchanged, while Spain will gain 1.1 percent and 2.1 percent, much better than the previous 1.0 percent and 1.7 percent.

Non-euro Britain easily outpaces its eurozone partners with growth of 2.7 percent and 2.5 percent, revised up from 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent.

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