The eurozone economy expanded more than expected in the third quarter of 2014, boosted by growth among countries at the centre of the region's long-running debt crisis, data released Friday showed.
According to the European Union's statistics office Eurostat, the struggling 18-member currency bloc expanded quarter-on-quarter by 0.2 per cent in the July through September period, after growing by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter.
The gain in the eurozone's gross domestic product (GDP) followed further signs that its cash-strapped member states were on a recovery path after the region emerged last year from a protracted recession sparked by tough fiscal austerity aimed at cutting debt levels.
Spain's GDP grew by 0.5 per cent, and France posted its fastest growth rate in more than year, expanding at a better-than-forecast 0.3 per cent after its economy contracted by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter.
Five years after it helped kick off the eurozone financial crisis, Greece posted 0.7-per-cent growth in GDP in the third quarter - up from 0.3 per cent in the second quarter.
But the eurozone GDP data was weighed down by another downbeat performance by Italy. The currency bloc's third-largest economy shrank 0.1 per cent in the third quarter, extending its record-length recession.
Portugal also dampened the bloc's economic growth with a 0.2-per-cent growth rate in the third quarter - about half what analysts had projected.
Friday's data showed feeble growth from Germany, the eurozone's powerhouse, with a quarter-on-quarter gain in GDP of only 0.1 per cent. The meagre figure means that Germany narrowly avoided a recession after it contracted by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter.
The Dutch economy also slowed significantly in the third quarter, growing by only 0.2 per cent compared with 0.6 per cent in the second quarter.
Year on year, the eurozone economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in Q3 -the same as in the three months ended June, Eurostat said.
The 28-member European Union's GDP rose quarter-on-quarter by 0.3 per cent in the third quarter, a small uptick compared with its second-quarter growth of 0.2 per cent.
The EU expanded by 1.3 per cent in July through September compared with the same period in 2013.