File - In this Oct. 9, 2016 file photo shipping containers are stacked on a ship in the port in Hamburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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Europe's economic recovery is on more solid ground ahead of what could be a turbulent political year.Statistics agency Eurostat said Tuesday that eurozone growth accelerated in the fourth quarter to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent in the previous three-month period. As a result, the eurozone economy grew by 1.7 percent in 2016 .That is the lowest since May 2009, before a financial implosion in Greece that year set off a debt crisis that almost shattered the eurozone.One of the most striking numbers from Eurostat showed inflation across the eurozone rising sharply in January to 1.8 percent from 1.1 percent the month before – a jump that will likely encourage critics who think it's time for the European Central Bank to start withdrawing its stimulus programs.Unemployment for young people leaving school is even worse in the lagging countries still feeling the effects of the debt crisis: 44.2 percent for under-25s in Greece, 42.9 percent in Spain and 40.1 percent in Italy.
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