The eurozone has stepped out of its longest recession in history after growing at a faster-than-expected pace in the second quarter this year.

According to the European Union's statistics office Eurostat, the 17-nation bloc's economy beat analysts' expectations and expanded by 0.3% in the three months to June this year.

Market consensus pegged the eurozone economy to grow by 0.2% in the second quarter of 2013 after initially declining by 0.2% in the first three months of the year.

Eurostat has since revised the drop in eurozone economic growth for the first quarter to 0.3%.

However, the eurozone economy growth rate is still 0.7% lower, compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Two Speed-Europe

While the eurozone may have stepped out of contraction overall, the picture of growth across Europe is mixed.

German and France led the bloc out of recession and both grew at a faster pace than expected.

Europe's largest economy, Germany, expanded by 0.7%, whereas market consensus, pegged the country to grow by 0.6% in the second quarter this year.

According to preliminary data from the Insee statistics agency, France exited its recession by posting 0.5% economic growth for the second quarter this year, whereas analysts predicted that the eurozone's second largest economy would expand by only 0.2%.

Despite concerns over political instability, wrecking Portugal's work on getting the economy back on track, the country grew by 1.1%.

However, Eurostat figures show that the countries hit hardest by the sovereign debt crisis are still struggling to return to growth.

Spain's economy fell by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter while Italy dropped by 0.2%.

Cyprus' economy contracted by 1.4% from the previous quarter. This means Cyprus' economic growth has tumbled by 5.4% on the previous year.

Britain's Data

GDP growth accelerated in the second quarter to 0.6%, after 0.3% expansion in the first three months.

Elsewhere, the latest set of economic data out from the UK showed that long-term unemployment crept up again in the three months to June, but the number of Job Seeker's Allowance claimants has since dropped.

Adding to the task of the government's flagship welfare-to-work scheme the Work Programme , the number of people which have been out of work for more than a year in the British economy, rose by 7,000 people from the first quarter. This is a total of 909,000 long-term unemployed people.

However, the number of people claiming JSA in July, a benefit for the jobless who are looking for work, was down to 1.44 million. This is a drop of 29,200 from June and a fall of 145,400 on the same month a year before.