Euro zone consumers and businesses have shrugged off the Crimea crisis and are at their most confident for two and a half years, a survey from the European Commission shows today.

The Commission's index of consumer and business sentiment for March rose for the 11th month in a row, hitting a 30-month high of 102.4 points.

Sentiment rose strongly in the countries on the edge of the euro zone where the debt crisis hit hardest. The index was up 2.2 points in Spain and 1.3 points in Italy.

But confidence also rose in the core economies of France (up 0.7 points) and Germany (0.4 points).

Some analysts said that this confidence would translate into a growth rate of 0.4% in the first three months of this year, compared to 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

But others cautioned that the recovery would still be held back by stubbornly high unemployment in the 18-nation bloc, as well as slow wage growth.