European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs
Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs © European Union, 2011 EU interim economic forecast: Recovery gaining ground
- Consultation on "Europe 2020 Project Bonds" to fund infrastructure
- Eurobarometer poll shows Estonians found euro introduction smooth and efficient
- Commission, EIB Group and EBRD deepen their cooperation
- ECB leaves interest rates unchanged, eyes reform of economic governance
- Barroso outlines principles for reinforced economic governance
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Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs © European Union, 2011 EU interim economic forecast: Recovery gaining ground

The EU economic recovery is expected to gain further ground this year, according to the latest interim economic forecast from DG ECFIN. Real GDP growth in 2011 is now forecast at 1.8% in the EU and 1.6% in the euro area, a slight upward revision compared to the autumn 2010 forecast. The improved outlook is supported by better prospects for the global economy and by strong EU business sentiment. While still assisted by exports, the recovery is also expected to become more balanced towards domestic demand, making growth more sustainable. However, developments across countries are uneven and uncertainty remains high. Covering GDP and inflation, the interim forecast is based on updated projections for France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK.

Viewpoint
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Competitiveness is indeed an essential element for our economies. It is a necessary condition for entrenching job-creating growth.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, debate on the preparation of the Euro Area Summit of 11 March 2011, European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg, 8 March 2011
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Cranes © Thinkstock.com
Consultation on "Europe 2020 Project Bonds" to fund infrastructure

A public consultation  launched on 28 February aims to boost the funding of projects with long-term revenue potential in line with the Europe 2020 policy priorities. Over the next decade, record volumes of investment in Europe's transport, energy, information and communication networks will be needed in order to underpin the Europe 2020 flagship actions. Preliminary estimates point to investment needs of EUR 1.5 to 2 trillion for Trans-European Transport Networks, the energy sector and information and communication technologies. "Financial instruments should play a larger role in the funding of public-interest projects", said Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn. The consultation is open for comments until 2 May 2011.
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Estonia and the Euro © Thinkstock.com
Eurobarometer poll shows Estonians found euro introduction smooth and efficient

The vast majority of Estonians thought that their country’s recent changeover to the euro happened smoothly and efficiently, according to the results of a Flash Eurobarometer opinion survey published in February. Only a few respondents encountered problems when exchanging kroon cash for euros or withdrawing the new currency from banks in the week following Estonia’s entry into the euro area on 1 January 2011. However, more than half of those polled felt that price conversions to euros had not always been fair and that the euro would increase inflation in Estonia. The survey, covering a range of issues related to attitudes toward the euro and the changeover process, was based on more than 1 000 interviews conducted between 16 and 20 January 2011.
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Commission, EIB Group and EBRD deepen their cooperation © European Commission G20 leaders in Seoul 2010 © G20 Seoul Summit - All rights reserved
Commission, EIB Group and EBRD deepen their cooperation

Cooperation between the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB)/European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to be stepped up under an agreement signed by the three partners on 1 March. The Memorandum of Understanding looks to maximise synergies between the organisations’ activities in common countries of operation outside the EU by supporting collaboration and cooperation between the two Banks according to their respective strengths, expertise and capacities. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Commission by Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Rehn.
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European Central Bank © Thinkstock.com
ECB leaves interest rates unchanged, eyes reform of economic governance

The European Central Bank (ECB) decided on 3 March to leave its key interest rates unchanged while underlining that it would remain vigilant concerning any risks to price stability. “The continued firm anchoring of inflation expectations is of the essence”, noted ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet. The meeting of the ECB Governing Council in Frankfurt – which was attended by Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Rehn – also saw discussion, among other items, of reform of the economic governance framework for the euro area and the related legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission.
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Participation of José Manuel Barroso at the EP plenary session © European Union, 2011
Barroso outlines principles for reinforced economic governance

As an additional measure to help strengthen the European economy, a Convergence and Competitiveness Pact would have to respect the EU’s Treaty provisions, its system of economic governance and the Community approach, according to President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg ahead of an informal euro-area summit on 11 March in Brussels, Mr Barroso also underlined – among other principles – that such a pact must respect the single market and be open to EU Member States that are not part of the euro area, as well as those inside it. The informal euro-area summit was set to discuss in particular the strengthening of coordination of national economic policies, with the pact idea likely to be among the topics raised.
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Publications
Cover of the “The EMU sovereign-debt crisis: Fundamentals, expectations and contagion, Economic Paper 436”

The EMU sovereign-debt crisis: Fundamentals, expectations and contagion, Economic Paper 436
The paper offers a detailed empirical investigation of the European sovereign-debt crisis up to February 2010 and describes policy implications both at national and European level. The findings highlight the need for structural, competitiveness-inducing reforms in periphery Economic & Monetary Union (EMU) countries and for institutional reforms at the EMU level enhancing intra-EMU economic monitoring and policy co-ordination.
Extension of the study on the diffusion of innovation in the Internal Market, Economic Paper 438
Fiscal policy and the labour market: the effects of public sector employment and wages, Economic Paper 439
Commodity prices, commodity currencies, and global economic developments, Economic Paper 440
Upcoming: Labour market review 2010
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Agenda Calls
11 March
Brussels
Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the euro area
14-15 March
Brussels
Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings
24-25 March
Brussels
European Council
14-15 April
Washington D.C.
G20 Ministerial meeting
16-17 April
Washington D.C.
Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group
13 May
European economic forecast, spring 2011
18 May
Brussels
BEF 2011 – The Brussels Economic Forum 2011
20-21 May
Astana, Kazakhstan
EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum
24-25 May
Paris
OECD Forum 2011
No calls available right now.
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs