This week, the European Commission published a winter economic outlook for the euro area, which showed that its experts have become a little more optimistic about the future of the region than in the autumn of last year.
Already in November last year European Commission started to improve its economic forecasts for the euro area on the background of good signs that began to appear.
However, the situation in the euro zone in the next two years will be far from cloudless. "The worst part of the crisis, perhaps, is behind," said vice-president of the European Commission Olli Rehn at the press conference on the winter forecast.
Rehn outlined a number of factors expected to shore up the EU's economic recovery.
One driver would be growth in the United States, whose economy is expected to grow by 2.9% in 2014, and another spur would come from growth in world trade. The Commission expects world import growth to double from 2.5% in 2013 to about 5% in 2014, and to rise to 6% in 2015.
Another driver would be a reduction in the fragmentation of the EU's financial markets, as banks' balance sheets improve, differences decrease between national debt markets, and reforms to the financial sector begin to take effect. This “should help to improve lending conditions for small and medium-size enterprises.” Rehn said.
EU authorities do not tend to announce the end of the financial and economic crisis.
EC improved growth estimate for the euro area real GDP growth for the current year to 1.2% from 1.1% compared to the autumn forecast and assessment for 2015 - to 1.8% from 1.7%. According to the EC, the region's GDP last year decreased by 0.4%.
European Commission believes that in 2014 only Cyprus and Slovenia will show negative growth but already in 2015 all countries will demonstrate a stable growth.
A forecast of unemployment, which took in the region a record data last year, was also improved: for the current year EC has reduced it to 12% from 12.2%, and for the next year - to 11.7% from 11.8%. In 2013, in EC’s opinion, the unemployment rate in the euro area was 12.1%.
European Commission also has improved the outlook for eurozone’s GDP on the background of deteriorating of the global economic growth. Now it expects growth of 3.6% and 3.9% for the present and next year, respectively.
Eurozone will continue to bear the burden of debt, which will decrease only slightly. The EC has not changed the assessment of public debt, despite the increase in GDP estimates.
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