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

BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-COURT-BREXIT

BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-COURT-BREXIT

The euro zone economy is expected to grow at its fastest rate in a decade this year, after European Commission forecasts were hiked on Thursday, while investment in United Kingdom seen weakening next year. The commission projected headline inflation to slow to 1.4 percent in 2018 and to tick slightly higher to 1.6 percent in 2019.

According to its Autumn Forecast released today, the European Commission expects growth to continue in both the euro area and in the EU at 2.1% in 2018 and at 1.9% in 2019 (Spring Forecast: 2018: 1.8% in the euro area, 1.9% in the EU).

However, Pierre Moscovici, the commissioner for economic and financial affairs, warned that while both the eurozone and the wider European Union are expected to grow in 2018 and 2019, "challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases".

EU officials hope the dynamic economy will help ambitious reform drives by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron to deepen economic integretaion in the eurozone.

The Commission had previously forecast growth for the year of 1.7 percent, but its autumn economic outlook sharply revises the figure on the back of surprisingly strong GDP growth figures announced for the third quarter last month.

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Investment on the other hand is set to be sustained by the residential construction sector, which will grow further in 2018.

In line with robust real GDP growth and a strong labour market, and despite the reduction in taxation worth 0.2% of GDP, tax revenues are expected to continue growing.

However, in view of Malta's openness to trade (nominal exports and imports combined to reach 270% of GDP in 2016) any volatility in Malta's main exporting sectors would have a disproportionately large impact on real GDP growth. He also said the eurozone needs to become "more resilient" to future shocks and turn itself into a "true motor of shared prosperity".

"After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated", EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday. The forecast revision for 2017 reflects mainly the weaker-than expected performance of private consumption in the first half of the year. Moreover, there is a risk of a possible under-execution of the public investment budget in 2018, which would hinder overall investment growth as well.

The EU Commission has downgraded its expectations for United Kingdom economic growth, saying its assumptions are even based on there being no change in trading status after Brexit. It said growth this year would likely be 2.3 percent, up from 1.9 percent, while next year's would be 2.1 percent, also up from 1.9 percent. Members of the common-currency are seen with an average deficit of 1.1% of GDP in 2017, down from 1.4% in the earlier forecast. "This is for forecasting purposes only and has no bearing on the talks underway in the context of the Article 50 process", the European Commission's forecasts note.

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