The European Commission published today its Winter European Economic Forecast. It covers the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 and includes data on gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation, employment and public budget deficits and debt, amongst others. These forecasts focus on all 28 EU Member States, the candidate countries as well as some non-EU countries.
According to the Commission's forecasts, the European economy has proven resilient to global challenges last year and the economic recovery is expected to continue this year and next: for the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all EU Member States are expected to grow throughout the entire forecasting period (2016, 2017 and 2018). However, these forecasts are surrounded by higher-than-usual uncertainty.
Real GDP in the euro area has grown for 15 consecutive quarters, employment is growing at a robust pace and unemployment continues to fall, although it remains above pre-crisis levels. Private consumption is still the engine of the recovery. Investment growth continues but remains subdued.
In its Winter Forecast, the European Commission expects euro area GDP growth of 1.6% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018. This is slightly revised up from the Autumn Forecast (2017: 1.5%, 2018: 1.7%) on the back of better-than-expected performance in the second half of 2016 and a rather robust start into 2017. GDP growth in the EU as a whole should follow a similar pattern and is forecast at 1.8% this year and next (Autumn Forecast: 2017: 1.6%, 2018: 1.8%).