December 12, 2013 / 2:55 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-U.S. says euro zone's long recession is ending

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Thursday the euro area’s prolonged recession appeared to be ending although policymakers in the region can do more to boost employment.

“Having made significant progress on achieving financial stability, Europe is now in a position to place greater priority on boosting demand and employment,” Lew said in remarks prepared for a congressional hearing.

The euro zone emerged from recession in the second quarter but growth almost ground to a halt again in the third, and the outlook is clouded by record-high unemployment and weak consumer and business confidence.

The bloc’s weakest members continue to struggle with crushing debt burdens, and Lew urged lawmakers to approve new quota reforms at the International Monetary Fund, which has lent money to several European countries to counter a financial crisis in the region.

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