By Jonathan Davies

If the painting of the eurozone's economic growth didn't look bleak enough, new figures suggest it will be at least 2016 before the area achieves growth of 1.7%.

The European Commission has forecast growth of just 0.8% this year and 1.1% next year. Growth of 1.2% had originally been forecast for this year.

EU vice president Jyrki Katainen said "the economic and employment situation is not improving fast enough".

The European Commission expects inflation to stay low and unemployment to remain high.

Marco Buti, director general of the Commission's economics department, said that the eurozone's current problems are as a result of the global credit crunch in 2008.

"The slowdown in Europe has occurred as the legacy of the global financial and economic crisis lingers," he said.

"We see growth... coming to a stop in Germany... protracted stagnation in France and contraction in Italy."

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