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PALO ALTO, Calif. — A year ago, the euro zone’s most important challenge was anemic economic growth. But 2006 turned out to be a good year for growth in Europe, as surprising strength in exports sparked unexpected increases in domestic demand. Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, had a particularly dramatic turnaround, with annual GDP up by 2.7 percent in 2006, the highest rate since 2000.

Not only has German resurgence raised overall growth in Europe, but it has also made growth less evenly balanced throughout the euro zone. This is because Germany is growing faster than the other large economies, France and Italy.

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