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Chapter 1: The European Economy: Current Situation and Economic Outlook for 2005

By Lars Calmfors, Giancarlo Corsetti, Seppo Honkapohja, John Kay, Willi Leibfritz, Gilles Saint-Paul, Hans-Werner Sinn and Xavier Vives


This chapter discusses the current situation and economic outlook for 2005 for the European economy. As a main scenario, it is forecasted that GDP in the euro area will grow at about the same rate as in 2004, that is around 13/4 percent on average. The recovery remains fragile and depends on continued growth in the world economy. The recent rise of the euro against the dollar and any additional oil price hikes represent significant downside risks to the basic scenario. For economic policy the basic scenario is that interest rates remain at current levels and that the stance of fiscal policy is similar to 2004. An appendix to the chapter reviews the current problems with the Stability and Growth Pact of the EU.

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