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EU's Rehn says euro zone must pursue structural reforms

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn speaks during a joint news conference with EU Commission President Jose Manuel
European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn speaks during a joint news conference with EU Commission President Jose Manuel

London (Reuters) - Europe must continue with its "far reaching structural reforms" that have helped to rebalance the euro zone economy and rebuild confidence, EU's top economics official, Olli Rehn, said in an opinion piece in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

"In order to overcome the crisis and restore confidence, we must continue to remove structural obstacles to sustainable growth and employment; pursue prudent fiscal consolidation; and turn bold thoughts into convincing actions when redesigning and rebuilding our economic and monetary union," he said.

"In short, we need to stay the course and pursue decisive reforms in our member states and deeper integration in the euro zone."

He said decisions made so far have begun to rebuild confidence, calm markets and counter fears of a collapse of the euro.

"Far-reaching structural reforms are helping to rebalance the euro zone economy. Progress is tangible," said Rehn, who is vice-president of the European Commission, responsible for economic and monetary affairs and the euro.

Euro zone sentiment improved for a fourth consecutive month in December, as investors took heart from pledges by the European Central Bank and politicians to stand by the euro.

Rehn also said the European Commission intends to "explore further ways" to accommodate public investment in its assessment of national fiscal plans.

Last week, Rehn urged European finance ministers and leaders meeting in Brussels this week to reach an agreement on plans for pan-EU banking supervision.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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