Following the recession that marked 2012, the EU economy as a whole is expected to stabilise in the first half of 2013. GDP growth is projected to turn positive gradually in the second half of the year before gaining some traction in 2014. As domestic demand is still constrained by a number of impediments that are typical of the aftermath of deep financial crises, external demand is set to be the main growth driver this year. The headwinds on private consumption and investment are expected to abate gradually, making way for a modest domestically sustained recovery next year. This forecast remains based on the assumption that continued policy implementation will prevent a renewed intensification of the sovereign-debt crisis.
Annual GDP growth this year is now forecast at -0.1% in the EU and at -0.4% in the euro area. For 2014, economic activity is projected to expand by 1.4% in the EU and 1.2 % in the euro area.
Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro said: "In view of the protracted recession, we must do whatever it takes to overcome the unemployment crisis in Europe. The EU’s policy mix is focused on sustainable growth and job creation. Fiscal consolidation is continuing, but its pace is slowing down. In parallel, structural reforms must be intensified to unlock growth in Europe."