Major European companies have benefited from the more stable economy. ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, says the worst is over and that European demand is finally on the rise again. Many companies, however, are still relying on foreign markets to drive profits. Big exporters, like German car maker BMW, are selling a lot in China and pushing into fast-growing emerging markets.
The recovery in Europe, the world's largest trading bloc, is expected to cause an increase in global trade levels later this year as exporters like Germany gather pace and Europeans buy more products from companies in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere.
Despite that cautious note of optimism, analysts said the eurozone still has a long way to go before it can say it has proved the skeptics wrong. Europe's indebted governments still face years of spending cuts and tax increases and many, notably Greece and Spain, are weighed down by record-high unemployment of over 25 percent. A full recovery across the eurozone is not expected before 2015.
"While the return to economic growth in the eurozone is a welcome development, it would be wrong to think that it will bring an end to the travails of the highly indebted and uncompetitive countries of the periphery," said Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics. "The recession may be over, but the debt crisis is decidedly not."
For many people in Europe, even a mild improvement is cause to celebrate — and a suggestion that the darkest days are in the past.
When Jareno co-founded Minube in 2007, the global credit crunch was just about to erupt. That sent Europe into a recession that was shorter but deeper than the current one, and prevented Minube from getting bank loans to expand.
In the past year, visits to his website have increased by two-thirds and commissions on booked trips have jumped 300 percent.
"Figures have only gone up," Jareno said, "and that might be a sign that trust has improved."
Pylas reported from London.
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