EU economy 'returning to normal': eurogroup head

3rd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European economy is "returning to normal" despite "many risks" weighing on recovery, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday.

"I believe things are returning to normal," said Juncker, who heads the eurogroup of finance ministers from the 16 countries which share the euro, at a press conference in his home city.

"The banks' 'stress tests' were conclusive and convincing and we are witnessing certain recovery of the European economy, including the eurozone.

"There are many risks surrounding recovery, but that recovery is located somewhere between fragile and confirmed," he added, citing a "more robust" European banking system than before the results of health checks performed on 91 banks across the continent.

Seven of the banks failed, and with improving economic data generally since, markets have calmed after the worst recession since the 1930s and a debt crisis in the eurozone that has seen Greece bailed out to the tune of 110 billion euros.

Asked about Greece, where EU and International Monetary Fund experts are currently assessing public finance restructuring plans, Juncker said he was "very pleased" with Greek measures taken to-date.

He said he was "optimistic" that Athens would receive "the next tranche" of EU-IMF loans due in September.

© 2010 AFP

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