Economic growth in Europe began to gain momentum after a long period, during which the eurozone lagged behind the US and Asian countries in terms of growth. Such an optimistic conclusion was made by the finance ministers of the countries – members of the European Union, who gathered in Brussels for a meeting of Ecofin – the EU Council on Economics and Finance.
In these circumstances, there was not even a traditional concern that almost half of the 25 countries violate the general budget rules. According to Joaquin Almunia, European Commissioner for Economics and Finance, the eurozone has excellent prospects: “Our September forecast for economic growth in the euro area may improve compared to the forecast made in May.
If economic performance remains as good as it is now, our next forecast in September will certainly be better. ”
Today, the forecast of the European Commission is 2.1%. Other forecasts for this year, including the European Central Bank, make up 2.2%. At the same time, EU finance ministers are not too concerned about the ECB’s intention to raise interest rates by either a quarter or half a percentage point at the next meeting.
A similar situation exists with the euro. Although the ministers say that the current exchange rate of the euro / US dollar pair will not harm either the export of the eurozone or the growth of the region’s economy, a higher rate is fraught with negative consequences.
Neither the overly expensive euro nor the record-high oil spoiled the mood of the ministers of economy and finance of the Eurozone countries, who gathered for a two-day summit in Porto. The heads of relevant departments of 13 states that switched to a single currency expressed confidence that the steady economic growth of the Eurozone will continue despite the problems of recent months.
It seems that only France is seriously worried about the strengthening of the euro – the main articles of its export, cars and luxury goods, are becoming too expensive and are losing in competitiveness. Jean-Claude Juncker, Chairman of the Eurogroup, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, said: “We continue to believe that in 2007 and 2008 our economic systems will retain growth potential, taking into account risks, which, in particular, are associated with the latest trends in financial markets. ”
The economic growth of the Eurozone last year accelerated twice as compared with the previous one and amounted to 2.7 percent. According to forecasts, the same pace should continue this year and, it is possible, in the next.
Strengthening the euro was a gift for European tourists and expatriates in the United States – local prices are becoming more and more profitable for those who receive salaries in European currency. So, a typical lunch in a good restaurant will cost here 15 euros per person, while in the west of the Eurasian continent you have to spend 20-25.