Economic confidence in the eurozone continued rising in December, driven by the improved sentiment in the largest economies within the single currency bloc, the European Commission said Thursday. In December, the economic sentiment indicator (ESI) increased by 1.6 points in the euro area to 100 points, being back to its long-term average for the first time since July 2011, the Commission said in a report. Rising confidence in the euro area was driven by three of the five largest economies, with the ESI rising 4 points in Spain, 2.3 points in Italy and 1.5 points in the Netherlands, while remaining virtually unchanged 0.3 points in both Germany and France. On a sector basis, the eurozone saw significantly improved sentiment in construction and retail trade. Confidence among consumers, services and industry also picked up, the report said. In the wider European Union, the improvement in sentiment was only slightly less pronounced than in the euro area, rising 1.4 points to 103.5 points, the report showed.