Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Βudget surplus, lower public debt and unemployment in Greece — EU Commission

The report suggests a deal could be completed by November 2018 The report suggests a deal could be completed by November 2018
Juana Turner | 10 November, 2017, 01:01

According to the European Union executive's Winter Economic Forecasts, the eurozone economy will grow by 2.2 percent this year, 2.1 percent next year and at 1.9 percent in 2019.

Outside Europe, global tensions as well as adjustments in the Chinese economy or possible protectionist measures by the United States mean that the Commission can not predict whether EU's economic situation will "turn out better or worse than forecast". There are also signs of a resumption of a process of convergence in real incomes.

Investment on the other hand is set to be sustained by the residential construction sector, which will grow further in 2018. He also said the eurozone needs to become "more resilient" to future shocks and turn itself into a "true motor of shared prosperity". "The coming weeks will be decisive on this front".

"After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated", EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said. GDP growth and inflation are therefore still dependent on policy support. France's unemployment rate is set to fall substantially. Unemployment in the euro area is expected to average 9.1% this year, its lowest level since 2009, as the total number of people employed climbs to a record high. The economy would slow even further to 1.3 percent in 2018, followed by 1.1 percent in 2019.

The Commission estimates that the budget deficit this year and next year will be 0.9 percent of GDP, while in 2019 it will be 0.7 percent of GDP. Romania's annual inflation rate was -0.5% at the end of 2016.

The outlook was positive for Spain despite the crisis over Catalonia, with its growth foreacast upgraded to a robust 3.1 percent for this year, leading the eurozone's major economies.

Its real GDP is expected to increase at an average pace of around 2.1 percent per year over the 2017-to- 2019 period. Tax cuts, in particular a cut of the standard VAT rate by 1 percentage point have reduced tax revenues. The headline government balance is expected to improve in nearly all Member States.

But for the first time, risks surrounding the economic outlook are "broadly balanced" instead of "tilted to the down side". "The risks in these forecasts are mainly related to Agrokor's restructuring, which is underway".

Moreover, in spite of more social spending due this year's budgetary measures, such as an increase in pensions, current expenditure growth is expected to weaken in 2018.

The commission stressed that its post-Brexit economic forecasts were based on a purely technical assumption of status quo in EU-U.K. trade relations. Unless policies are credibly announced and specified in adequate detail, the projections assume no policy changes.

Moscovici, the French member of the Commission, said the decision over closing the procedure will be taken in spring 2018.

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