Eurogroup meeting: extracts from the press conference
Première transmission: 04/05/2009
Brussels, Belgium - Council/Justus Lipsius
Fin de production: 04/05/2009
The Finance Ministers of the Eurozone, meeting today in Brussels for their monthly talks on the economic outlook of the euro, agreed with the European Commission spring forecasts that were issued earlier today.
Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg Prime Minister and President of the Eurogroup said he is very worried about the social consequences in Europe of the economic and financial crisis. I will just repeat my pleas to employers not to proceed to premature lay-offs, particularly in those countries where such things exist as partial unemployment or short-time working, but to show social responsibility, he told journalists.
Everybody agrees that we are now in the worst moments of the recession knowing the figures coming from the last part of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, but at the same time we observe signals in the US, in Asia and also in Europe, added Joaquin Almunia, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the press conference
||SOUNDBITE by Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister, Minister of State, Minister for Finance of Luxembourg and President of the Eurogroup (in FRENCH): saying that they think that the Commission was right with a growth assessment of 4% in 2009; saying that Basically this is in line with the assessments received from most Member States over the last 10 days; saying that they notice that the Commission's forecasts though remaining quite dark are in general a little bit more optimistic than the forecasts published by the IMF two weeks ago; saying that they are expecting a 4% contraction of the economic activity in 2009 and obviously they cannot talk in terms of a robust recovery in 2010 either because the Commission banking on a 0.1% contraction at that stage, and this figure is further decreasing when applied at the national level and is varying from one country to another.
||SOUNDBITE by Jean-Claude Juncker (in FRENCH): saying that given the crisis of the world growth, they can only admit that unemployment rates in Europe are definitely going to increase and are heading towards figures that are of great concern to him, and he is very concerned about that; saying that they are in the heart of an economic and financial crisis, and are heading towards a social crisis as the employment crisis is unavoidable in the light of all this; saying that any policy in the European Union has to be directed to managing the economic and social effects of this situation; saying that he can only repeat his pleas towards employers not to proceed to hasty lay-offs, but particularly in those countries where such instruments exist to rely on partial unemployment which could thus allow for a solution through this negative situation until the growth recovery in 2011, he thus urges employers not to massively lay-off or prematurely fire employees, and calls upon social responsibility for companies which is something they need to get aware of.
||Cutaway: members of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Joaquín Almunia, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs (in ENGLISH): Everybody agrees that we are now in the worst moments of the recession knowing the figures coming from the last part of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. But at the same time we observe positive signals in the US, in Asia and also in Europe. Surveys in Europe are improving. Today morning the PMI for manufacturing in the Euro area was published, and it indicates better resources than expected. We all share this moment of positive expectations and at the same time of negative consequences of the recession.