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

Posted November 10, 2017

In its autumn forecast published Thursday, the executive Commission said it expects growth this year of 2.2 percent, which would be the bloc's highest rate since 2007.

Macron is now pushing through significant labor reforms in France and hopes around those reforms, combined with his repeated calls for enhanced European economic cooperation and consolidation, have helped push growth expectations for France for 2017 up to 1.6 percent from the earlier 1.4 percent. The lowest growth will be recorded by Italy and the United Kingdom with only 1.5 percent.

"After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated". In 2018, the debt is to fall to 130.8 percent and in 2019 to 130.0 percent, the Commission said.

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Other macroeconomic indicator trends forecast by the EC for the Bulgarian economy included a decline in its current account surplus, from 4.2 per cent of GDP last year to three per cent in 2017 and 2.4 per cent next year; inflation turning positive to reverse the deflationary trend in place since 2013; and a balanced Budget for a second consecutive year (compared to the spring estimate, which forecast a deficit of 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2017). Monthly government statistics to date suggest that the 2017 general government primary balance target (1.75 pct of GDP in terms of the ESM programme definition) will be met, with the balance of risks tilted to the upside.

Irish growth is close to the top of the European Union league with only Malta (5.6 per cent) and Romania (5.7 per cent) growing faster this year. "While the effects of recent tax reforms pale, household consumption is expected to remain strong thanks to job growth, wage increases and favourable credit conditions". This is a result both of a good performance of the economy in the first half of the year and an upward revision to 2016's GDP growth rate.Domestic demand is the engine of growth in 2017, and is expected to remain so for the entire period, backed by strong performance of private and public consumption and a recovery in investment.

Unemployment across the currency union is expected to drop faster than expected in May, dipping to 9.1% by year-end and then to 8.5% in 2018 and 7.9% the following year. The economies of all Member States are expanding and their labour markets improving, but wages are rising only slowly.

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Domestic demand remains the primary driver of growth.

"The long-lasting moderate expansion has shifted into more robust and long-lasting growth", said Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs.

"Yet challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases".

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United Kingdom growth slowed down this year - to 1.5 percent from 2.3 percent in 2015 and 1.8 percent in 2016 - because higher prices led to lower consumption.