Eurozone growth at fastest pace in 10 years

The report suggests a deal could be completed by November 2018

The 19-member eurozone is expected to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with gross domestic product growth beating forecasts and projected to reach 2.2%, well outpacing the United Kingdom, according to a European Commission report released on Thursday.

UK GDP growth for 2017 was downgraded to 1.5% - from 1.8% in the previous forecast in the spring - with the prediction for 2018 unchanged at 1.3% and a gloomier 1.1% for 2019, when Britain is due formally to leave the EU.

The EU's executive arm said it had pencilled-in a 1.1% increase in gross domestic product for the country in 2019 - the year of the looming divorce - saying it could not assume a different relationship. Private consumption is forecast to slow down in 2018 and 2019.Higher increase in imports, driven by strong domestic demand, will lead to a reduction in the current account surplus to 3% of GDP in 2017.

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.

"The EU economy is performing well overall".

The Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast put the UK's slow growth down to inflation caused by the collapse in the pound following last year's vote for Brexit, which had constrained private spending.

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Investment on the other hand is set to be sustained by the residential construction sector, which will grow further in 2018. Positive forces could emerge, however, from diminishing uncertainty and improving sentiment in Europe to stronger global growth. High households' indebtedness and increasing debt burdens, could also affect consumption growth.

"After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated", EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said. Moreover, structural convergence and the strengthening of the euro area are necessary to make it more resilient to future shocks and to turn it into a true motor of shared prosperity.

Real GDP in Greece rose by 0.5 pct (q-o-q) in both the first and second quarters of this year (in seasonally-adjusted terms), corresponding to a rise of 0.6 pct (y-o-y) for the first half of 2017. The economy would slow even further to 1.3 percent in 2018, followed by 1.1 percent in 2019.

France and Spain will cut their budget gaps enough this year and next to meet deadlines set by European Union finance ministers and Italy's public debt will finally peak this year and start falling from 2018, the European Commission forecast on Thursday. Romania's 2017 budget is built on projections for 6.1% economic growth and deficit equivalent to 2.96% of GDP. "This is for forecasting purposes only and has no bearing on the talks underway in the context of the Article 50 process", the European Commission's forecasts note.

In 2016, Romania's economy grew by 4.8% year-on-year, compared to a revised growth rate of 3.9% in 2015.

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