DG ECFIN produces short-term macroeconomic forecasts twice a year, in the spring and autumn. These forecasts concentrate on the Member States, the euro area and the EU, but also include outlooks for candidate countries as well as some non-EU countries.
Each forecast has at least a two-year time horizon (with an additional year added each autumn) covering the current year and the next. The forecasting process considers a total of 180 variables and is the result of several iterative rounds.
The forecasts are not based on a centralised econometric model. Instead, they result from analyses made by the DG ECFIN country desks, each of which uses statistical methods to varying degrees. The forecasts are checked for consistency, in particular as regards trade flows. The EU and euro-area variables are not a direct forecast, but are obtained by aggregating the individual Member State forecasts.
In between the fully-fledged spring and autumn forecasts, interim forecasts are produced in which an update of real GDP growth and inflation is estimated for the seven largest Member States and for the current year only. The interim forecasts are largely prepared using indicator-based models.