Following his confirmation by the European Parliament on 16 July, Jyrki Katainen has now formally taken up his duties as European Commission Vice-President, responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro. Read the introductory statement he delivered on 14 July to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
Let me begin with a word on the economic outlook in Europe. Eurostat's flash estimate for GDP for the fourth quarter of last year, published last Friday, confirmed that the economic recovery is gradually gathering strength in Europe. Quarterly growth reached 0.4% in the EU, which is slightly above our autumn economic forecast, and 0.3% in the euro area, also slightly above our autumn forecast.
After two frenetic days in Beijing, where together with the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem I had a number of fruitful discussions with the Chinese authorities, on 16 January I began a short visit...