23 Feb 2013

Outlook remains grim for eurozone

9:02 pm on 23 February 2013

A new forecast says the economic outlook in Europe continues to look grim with officials conceding countries using the euro will shrink further into recession.

The EU report says governments will struggle to rein in their overspending, unemployment will rise and the eurozone economy will shrink, the BBC reports.

Spain, France and Portugal have all failed to cut their deficits to agreed targets.

The eurozone economy would shrink 0.3% in 2013, the European Commission said, making the governments' task even harder.

Previously, the commission had expected the 17 economies in the eurozone to collectively enjoy 0.1% positive growth this year. In 2012 the economy is estimated to have shrunk 0.6%.

Delivering its winter forecast, Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn said unemployment across the single currency area is expected to continue rising to 12.2% this year as the recession lingers. Last year's jobless rate was 11.4%.

However, he said the eurozone was expected to rebound in the last three months of 2013, registering 0.7% growth in the fourth quarter.