Commission: “encouraging signs for European economy” but “too early to declare victory”


There are signs that the European economy is bottoming out of the crisis. After a contraction in the first quarter of 2013, the European economy has started to return to growth in the second quarter. The EU issues quarterly reviews and forecasts of the economy.

Ecommerce Europe welcomes this forecast as this spells good news as the future growth is likely to come from domestic demand. Especially since the European B2B Ecommerce Report 2013 shows that the Internet economy grows much faster than the economy in general. Ecommerce Europe estimates the share of the European Internet economy at 3.5%, a percentage that is set to double by 2016 and to triple by 2020.

The European Commission presented its forecast with the following figures.

  • GDP growth, 2nd half 2013: 0.5% (EU)
  • GDP growth 2013: 0.0% (EU) but -0.4% in the Eurozone
  • Forecasted GDP growth 2014: 1.4% (EU) but 1.1% in the Eurozone
  • Forecasted GDP growth 2015: 1.9% (EU) but 1.7% in the Eurozone

The “big three” economies (Germany, France and the UK) are all in positive numbers, albeit with small margins. The economies of some Southern Member States are still in the red numbers, but the Commission is optimistic about their recovery in the following two years. One country that is not doing too well either is the Netherlands, who are in negative GDP numbers for this year and the recovery will be slow.

The main drivers for growth in 2014 and 2015 are an increase in domestic demand, sparkling consumer confidence in the economy. The labour market will lag behind the economic growth as the unemployment rates are expected to go down from 2015 onwards. This is a natural development, as the labour market usually follows the state of GDP growth.

Statement by OIli Rehn, Vice-President and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro:
“There are increasing signs that the European economy has reached a turning point. The fiscal consolidation and structural reforms undertaken in Europe have created the basis for recovery. But it is too early to declare victory: unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels. That’s why we must continue working to modernize the European economy, for sustainable growth and job creation.”

For the press release, please click here.