From left: Free Democratic Party (FDP) faction leader Rainer Bruederle. German economy minister, vice-chancellor and party chairman, Philipp Roesler, vice-chairwoman of the party, Birgit Homburger and development minister Dirk Niebel attend a meeting of the FDP in Stuttgart, southern Germany, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. Germany's embattled vice chancellor is battling to quell speculation about his leadership of the country's junior governing party, whose dire poll ratings are a complicating factor in Chancellor Angela Merkel's bid for re-election. Philipp Roesler, who's also Germany's economy minister, appealed to his pro-market Free Democratic Party on Sunday to show unity ahead of a state election in his home region of Lower Saxony on Jan. 20, an important political test ahead of national elections in September. (AP Photo/dpa/ Bernd Weißbrod)The Associated Press
BERLIN – Germany's vice chancellor says the country's economy, Europe's biggest, grew by 0.75 percent last year and recent data send upbeat signals for growth in 2013.
The figure for last year compares with much stronger growth in 2010 and 2011 of 4.2 percent and 3 percent respectively. But Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler describes it as "robust," while several other countries in the 17-nation eurozone experienced recessions.
In mid-October, the government forecast growth of 0.8 percent in 2012 and 1 percent this year.
Roesler said Monday that the final quarter of last year was "somewhat weaker than we expected," without elaborating. He noted, however, that recent industrial orders figures and other indicators suggest the weak phase was temporary.