Eurozone states reined in budget deficits in 2014 but overall debt pile continued to grow

The 19-country eurozone managed as a whole to rein in its budget deficit by the end of last year, though overall public debt kept rising.

Statistics agency Eurostat says the eurozone's deficit dropped to 2.6 percent of gross domestic product from 3 percent the year before. The region has been focused on controlling government spending to bring deficits within the European Union's limit of 3 percent.

The biggest deficits were seen in countries still emerging from financial crises: Cyprus with 8.9 percent and Portugal's 7.2 percent. Greece, which has been on a tough program of spending cuts, had a deficit of 3.6 percent. Germany had a 0.3 percent surplus.

Public debt edged up to 92.1 percent of GDP by the end of last year from 91.1 percent, Wednesday's figures showed.