European Commission upgrades GDP growth forecast for Poland

French president Emmanuel Macron | Oliver Weiken  EPA

"The euro area economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2%".

Growth, the commission points out, has already slowed significantly in the United Kingdom in the last couple of years, falling from 2.3% in 2017, to just 1.8% in 2016.

With the growth forecast for 2017 slashed by 0.3 percent, it also expects the United Kingdom economy to only grow marginally over the next two years - by 1.3 percent in 2018 and by 1.1 percent in 2019, the year Brexit is now scheduled to happen. The EU economy as a whole is also set to beat expectations with robust growth of 2.3% this year (up from 1.9% in spring).

Eurozone inflation is also expected to remain broadly flat at 1.5% in 2017, down from a 1.6% forecast previously, decelerating to 1.4% next year before rising marginally to 1.6% in 2019.

EU officials hope the dynamic economy will help ambitious reform drives by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron to deepen economic integretaion in the eurozone.

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But the report was especially sour for non-euro Britain which saw its growth forecast for 2017 slashed to 1.5 percent. Yet challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases. High households' indebtedness and increasing debt burdens, could also affect consumption growth.

"The European economy has performed significantly better than expected this year, propelled by resilient private consumption, stronger growth around the world, and falling unemployment", the Commission said in a statement. The economy would slow even further to 1.3 percent in 2018, followed by 1.1 percent in 2019. Positive forces could emerge, however, from diminishing uncertainty and improving sentiment in Europe to stronger global growth. The Commission's autumn forecasts published today in Brussels are similar to those released earlier by the Croatian government, reports Jutarnji List on November 9, 2017. Moreover, there is a risk of a possible under-execution of the public investment budget in 2018, which would hinder overall investment growth as well.

The commission stressed that its analysis of Britain's prospects was based on a "purely technical assumption of status quo" in terms of the UK's relations with the European Union, and did not take into account any possible outcome from negotiations on a future trade deal.

The Commission estimates that the budget deficit this year and next year will be 0.9 percent of GDP, while in 2019 it will be 0.7 percent of GDP.

"This is for forecasting purposes only and has no bearing on the talks underway in the context of the Article 50 process". Monthly government statistics to date suggest that the 2017 general government primary balance target (1.75 pct of GDP in terms of the ESM programme definition) will be met, with the balance of risks tilted to the upside.

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