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EC chief does not see recession in Europe
  • | AFP | September 05, 2011 10:21 AM

The head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday said he did not anticipate Europe sliding into recession, instead seeing modest growth.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, seen in July 2011 at the EU headquarters in Bruxelles. Barroso on Monday said he did not anticipate Europe sliding into recession, instead seeing modest growth

"We don\'t anticipate a recession in Europe. The latest forecast by the European Commission shows there will be growth, modest growth it is true," he said during a visit to Australia.

His comments follow rating agency Standard & Poor\'s last week saying a second quarter slowdown had increased the risk of a double dip recession in Europe, but that the region should escape with sluggish growth this year.

The ratings agency lowered its forecast for eurozone growth to 1.7 percent this year from 1.9 percent, with evidence of a slowing in some of the bloc\'s strongest economies.

Barroso, on his first official visit to Australia, added that the European Union and the euro were "strong and resilient".

"I want to be very clear here: the European Union and euro are strong and resilient," he said.

"We are doing all it takes from tackling the underlying budget problems to strengthening the governance of the eurozone, from tighter financial regulation to improving our overall preparedness."

The European Commission chief added during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that it would be premature to judge the efforts by Greece to meet austerity targets demanded under its bailout terms.

But he stressed Athens had said it would meet its commitments.

"We are making a mission to Greece, and we are now in the process of analysing what Greece has been doing," he said.

"It is premature now to make an assessment on exactly the efforts of the Greek government."

On Friday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos conceded his country would have to revise its public deficit target for this year, a key condition for continued funding from the 110-billion-euro ($158 billion) EU-IMF-ECB bailout loan agreed last year.
 

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