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Spring forecast © Spring forecast 2011-12: economic recovery maintains momentum amid new risks
- Negotiations on stronger European economic governance heat up
- Terms of Portuguese economic support package take shape
- Romania poised for all-clear to receive final tranche of EU loans
- Rehn – Europe on track for greater financial stability
- Euro exhibition opens in Budapest
- Design-a-coin competition to mark 10 years of euro cash
Top News
Spring forecast © Spring forecast 2011-12: economic recovery maintains momentum amid new risks

The EU economy is set to further consolidate its gradual recovery, with prospects for 2011 looking slightly better than projected in the autumn, according to the latest forecast from DG ECFIN published on 13 May. GDP is projected to grow by around 1¾% this year and by close to 2% in 2012. This outlook is supported by better prospects for the global economy and overall upbeat EU business sentiment. Inflation, however, is rising faster, while unemployment is coming down more slowly. The trend in inflation reflects the increase in commodity prices, one of the most important new challenges that have emerged since the autumn. Fiscal consolidation is meanwhile progressing, with the public deficit set to decline to about 3¾% of GDP by 2012. Economic prospects continue to vary considerably for individual EU Member States, however.

The main message in our forecast is that the economic recovery in Europe is solid and continues, despite recent external turbulence and tensions in the sovereign debt market.

Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs
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General view of the the European Parliament hemicycle © European Union, 2011
Negotiations on stronger European economic governance heat up

Following the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee's adoption of six reports on the legislative package on economic governance just before Easter, negotiations between the European Parliament (EP) and the Council have begun. Their aim is to agree on the wide-ranging deepening and broadening reform of economic governance which will help Europe to emerge from the crisis and - more importantly - to avoid any future crisis of this type. The 17 May meeting of EU finance ministers (ECOFIN) will take stock of progress in the intensive negotiations which are now taking place on an almost daily basis between the Parliamentarians who wrote the reports and representatives of the Hungarian Presidency. The talks are being facilitated by DG ECFIN and are focusing on over 400 EP amendments to the Commission proposal. Hot topics have been taken first and head-on: Should sanctions against Member States be more severe and imposed more automatically? How can citizens and national authorities be guaranteed that key economic decisions are not imposed from behind closed doors and with no accountability? The Commission's aim is that negotiations should be concluded by June.
Olli Rehn - Portugal © European Union, 2011
Terms of Portuguese economic support package take shape

Agreement was reached in early May in Lisbon between the Portuguese authorities and officials from the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) on an economic adjustment programme that Portugal is to implement as a condition for receiving up to €78 billion in European Union (EU)/IMF loans (EU - €52 billion, IMF - €26 billion). Portugal requested financial assistance on 7 April. The programme – formally endorsed by the Commission on 10 May – contains measures to promote growth and jobs, fiscal measures to reduce the public debt and deficit, and measures to ensure the stability of the country’s financial sector. The agreement is now for final decision on the agenda of the 16-17 May Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings in Brussels.

Romanian flag ©
Romania poised for all-clear to receive final tranche of EU loans

Romania has met the conditions for receiving the fifth and final instalment – worth €150 million – of €5 billion in balance-of-payments loan assistance being provided by the EU under a multilateral financial support package agreed in May 2009. This was the assessment, at technical level, of European Commission services following a joint European Commission, International Monetary Fund and World Bank mission that visited Bucharest from 27 April to 9 May. The Commission services were to report their findings to Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn and to the EU’s Economic and Financial Committee with a view to consulting it on the release of the final instalment. Romania will start repayments in 2015.
Olli Rehn at the “Strengthening the Foundations of Integrated and Stable Financial Markets” conference © European Union, 2011
Rehn – Europe on track for greater financial stability

Improved financial regulation and the reform of economic governance in the EU are profoundly changing the economic architecture in Europe, and a whole new set of rules will provide the basis for more stable and sustainable growth. That was the message from European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn at a European Commission/European Central Bank conference on “Strengthening the Foundations of Integrated and Stable Financial Markets” held on 2 May in Brussels. The Commissioner made clear that continued efforts would be needed to safeguard financial stability in Europe, while noting that: “We have been able to largely contain the distress in the sovereign debt markets to three more vulnerable countries, Greece, Ireland and Portugal”.

Euro exhibition © G20 leaders in Seoul 2010 © G20 Seoul Summit - All rights reserved
Euro exhibition opens in Budapest

After successful stops in eight Member States, the European Commission's travelling euro exhibition has arrived in Budapest. The exhibition was opened on 4 May by Matthias Mors, Director for "Economies of the Member States" at DG ECFIN, Roland Nátrán, Deputy State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Finance, and Tamas Szucs, Head of the EU Representation in Hungary. The exhibition not only informs visitors about the production of banknotes and their security features, but also shows the history of the euro, the benefits of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the latest developments in the euro area such as the EU's response to the economic and financial crisis. Visitors can use interactive touch screens and audiovisual elements. Children can journey through a virtual island where they will discover the euro. After its stop in Budapest until 12 June, the exhibition will be shown in Pecs from 16 June to 10 July 2011.
Euro coin competition © Tipik
Design-a-coin competition to mark 10 years of euro cash

On 1 January 2012 it will be ten years since euro banknotes and coins were introduced and the euro became part of daily life for millions of people living in euro-area countries. A competition – open to euro-area citizens at least 12 years old by the end of 2011 – has now been launched until 20 May to design the commemorative 2-euro circulation coin that all 17 euro-area Member States will issue to mark the anniversary. It is the first time that the euro area has organised an open design competition on this scale, and it will be the third occasion that all euro-area Member States have joined together to issue a euro coin with the same shared design on the ‘national’ side.
ECFIN Economic Brief

Post-crisis unemployment developments: US and EU approaching? ECFIN Economic Brief
The brief reviews the evolution of the US and European labour markets since the beginning of the financial crisis. In the US, the unemployment rate and the share of long-term unemployment grew very fast during the crisis, reaching levels close to those in the EU. However, the brief argues that the convergence in the unemployment situation in the US and the EU as a whole will not be long-lasting. As observed in the past, US unemployment is expected to be relatively reactive in the coming quarters, while that of the EU, on aggregate, will be less so.

Upcoming: Product market review
Upcoming: Labour market review 2010
Agenda Calls
16-17 May
Brussels, Belgium
Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings
18 May
Brussels, Belgium
BEF 2011 – The Brussels Economic Forum 2011
20-21 May
Astana, Kazakhstan
EBRD Annual meeting and Business Forum
24-25 May
Paris, France
50th Anniversary OECD Forum 2011
26-27 May
G8 Summit
6-9 June
Strasbourg, France
European Parliament Plenary
14-15 June
Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings
22-23 June
Brussels, Belgium
European Parliament Mini-plenary
24 June
Brussels, Belgium
European Council
Internal Market. Public consultation "The EU corporate governance framework" (deadline 22 July)
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs