Having proven resilient to global challenges last year, the European 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, the outlook is 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 released today, 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%).
Risks surrounding these projections are exceptionally large and although both upside and downside risks have increased, the overall balance remains tilted to the downside. More information here