EU hails Britain's 'robust' growth as eurozone stalls
The EU praised Britain on Tuesday as it predicted further "robust growth" and low unemployment for the nation, while cutting its economic forecasts for the already sluggish eurozone.
According to the European Commission's autumn economic forecast, output in Britain will grow by about 3.
1 percent this year, higher than a previous prediction of 2.
7 percent, then 2.
7 percent next year and 2.
5 percent in 2016.
That contrasts with 0.
8 percent for the 18-country eurozone, which is lower than a previous prediction of 1.
Britain, which stayed out of the the single currency that launched in 2002, frequently blames the eurozone's woes from holding back its own economy's recovery.
"The United Kingdom is set to see robust growth up to 2.
7 percent as both investment and consumption expand at a fast pace," the new Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told a press conference.
Britain's coalition government led by Prime Minister David Cameron introduced major spending cuts and tough reforms when it took office in 2010, in order to to cut a record budget deficit and recover from a deep recession.
On the labour front, the EU said Britain's unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.
2 percent in 2014, then 5.
7 percent in 2015 and 5.
5 in 2016.
In stark contrast, unemployment in the eurozone is set to remain almost twice as high: 11.
6 percent this year, then 11.
3 percent in 2015 and 10.
8 percent in 2016.
Britain's deficit is also slated to fall, although it will remain higher than the eurozone -- from 5.
4 percent of economic output to 3.
4 percent in two years.
The eurozone, in contrast, is set to post a deficit of 2.
1 percent by 2016, far below the area's 3.
0 percent ceiling.
The commission predicted however that net exports will "detract from growth," blaming the appreciation of the pound since last year and the eurozone's "continued relative weakness.
"Jyrki Katainen, the commission's vice president for jobs and growth, insisted that the euro currency itself was not itself the problem, saying it had been "stable" and that it was "difficult to imagine in what situation would have been if the euro area hadn't been there.
© 2014 AFP