BRUSSELS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- A high European Union (EU) official on Wednesday sounded a cautious note after latest official data showed that the eurozone economy had emerged from recession.
The remarks by EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn came just as Eurostat said that the eurozone economy grew by 0.3 percent in the second quarter this year.
Rehn hailed the latest European economic data as encouraging, but warned that the debt and economic crisis in Europe is not over.
"This slightly more positive data is welcome - but there is no room for any complacency. Self-congratulatory statements suggesting 'the crisis is over' are not for today," Rehn said in a written statement.
EMERGING FROM RECESSION
The 0.3-percent quarterly growth ended a record-long recession in the single currency area, whose gross domestic product (GDP) had suffered contraction in the past four quarters in a row.
Since the euro debt crisis broke out, the European economy had been mired in difficulties. Eurostat data showed that the eurozone GDP had either contracted or stagnated in all the previous six quarters.
The eurozone's economy returned to growth in the second quarter mainly thanks to stronger-than-expected growth figures, with Germany recording the strongest economic expansion in more than a year and France confirming that it was no longer in recession.
Eurostat data showed that Germany's GDP grew 0.7 percent from April to June and France registered 0.5-percent growth during the second quarter.
However, the picture of the recovery is still mixed, with Spain's economy falling by 0.1 percent quarter on quarter from April to June, while Italy and the Netherlands both dropped by 0.2 percent.
From April to June this year, GDP of the EU also increased by 0.3 percent compared with the previous quarter, according to Eurostat.
"Today's figures, when combined with other recent positive survey data, are encouraging and suggest the European economy is gradually gaining momentum," he said.
Industrial production grew by 0.7 percent on a monthly basis in June, compared with a 0.2-percent contraction in May, Eurostat figures showed Tuesday.
Economic confidence in the eurozone continued to improve in July, driven by improving confidence in the currency area's major economies, the European Commission said late July.
Rehn pointed to the figures as further evidences to support the European Commission's 2013 spring forecast and its projections for "a subdued, mild recovery" in the second half of 2013.
"The data also supports, in my view, the fundamentals of our crisis response: a policy mix where building a stability culture and pursuing structural reforms supportive of growth and jobs go hand in hand," said Rehn.
LONG WAY TO GO
The Commissioner also sounded a warning signal when he said that, "there are still substantial obstacles to overcome," and "there is still a very long way to go."
"The growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile; the averages hide important differences between member states, a number of member states still have unacceptably high unemployment rates; and the implementation of essential but difficult reforms across the EU is still in its early stages," he added.
"A sustained recovery is now within reach, but only if we persevere on all fronts of our crisis response," Rehn said in the statement.
He urged all member states to "keep up the pace of economic reform, regain control over our debt, both public and private, and build the pillars of a genuine economic and monetary union."