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. In May the Commission forecast 2017 growth at 1.7 percent.
The European Commission assesses that this year the Croatian economy will grow by 3.2 percent, 2.8 percent next year, and 2.7 percent in 2019.
As for Britain, which doesn't use the euro currency, the report said its growth for 2017 had fallen to 1.5 percent and would be even slower in 2018 at 1.3 percent, followed by 1.1 percent in 2019. That's the first time in years the risks are not "tilted to the downside", a clear sign that the debt crisis has abated, notably in Greece, where growth is expected to beat the eurozone average in 2018 and 2019 at 2.5 percent in both years.
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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. For the next two years, the Commission forecasts decrease in employment growth to 0.4% and 0.3% due to limited labour supply. Investment is expected to increase modestly, mainly due to the construction sector. High households' indebtedness and increasing debt burdens, could also affect consumption growth. He also said the eurozone needs to become "more resilient" to future shocks and turn itself into a "true motor of shared prosperity".
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.
In the coming months and years, the Commission noted, "business investment is projected to remain subdued following a period of heightened uncertainty, while net export growth is forecast to moderate marginally, in line with export markets". By contrast, diminishing uncertainty and improving sentiment in Europe could lead to stronger-than-forecast growth, as could stronger growth in the rest of the world.
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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.
The closure of the second review in June 2017, together with the stronger-than-expected growth in the euro area and a favourable tourist season, are expected to strengthen the economy in the remainder of the year.
He pointed out that for the first time in a decade that all European Union countries will grow this year. Having fallen from 4% to 2.3% of GDP in 2016/17, the Government's deficit is expected to rise to 2.5% in 2017/18. "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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