BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Countries in the European Union may have to increase the retirement age to prevent their social security systems from collapsing as life expectancy increases and birth rates fall, the EU executive said on Wednesday.
Launching a debate on overhauling pension rules, the European Commission said pension systems would come under severe stress in coming decades.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone economic growth in the first three months of 2010 was confirmed on Wednesday at 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter, and 0.6 percent on the year, but any stronger expansion in the second quarter could be short-lived.
European Union statistics office Eurostat said in its second estimate for the first quarter that inventories had helped the 16-country euro area’s economy grow modestly over the period despite negative net trade, investment and consumer demand.
BRUSSELS, July 7 (Reuters) – Economic reforms intended to
pull Greece out of recession and help it resolve a sovereign
debt crisis are broadly on track, despite some slippage, the
European Commission said.
In a report from its June mission to Greece, the European
Union’s executive said Athens was making good progress on fiscal
consolidation and macroeconomic developments were in line with
the reform programme despite higher inflation.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries that discover problem banks when they stress-test their lenders could turn to an existing EU state back-up scheme, the bloc’s economy chief said on Monday.
EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn said that should any government exhaust national funds in helping a troubled lender, it could turn to “EU financial backstops … in the second line of defense.”
BRUSSELS, July 2 (Reuters) – Euro zone unemployment held
stable at 10 percent in May, a sign that a long and steady
deterioration in the labour market may have stalled, but the
outlook remains pessimistic as austerity programmes bite.
The European Union’s statistical office also said prices at
euro zone factory gates remained subdued in May, in line with
expectations, pointing to low underlying inflation pressure.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone economic sentiment improved marginally in June after falling sharply in the previous month, as fears eased over the currency area’s sovereign debt crisis.
The European Commission said its economic sentiment indicator for the 16 countries using the euro currency increased to 98.7 in June from 98.4 in May. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a fall to 98.2 points.
BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – European Central Bank policymakers pressed governments on Monday to follow stricter budget rules and open their books to external monitoring as they urged a new carrot-and-stick approach to fiscal policy.
ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet told European parliamentarians more scrutiny was essential, presenting proposals for a new system of incentives and sanctions including an independent budget watchdog.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s debt crisis is unlikely to derail its economic recovery but growth will remain muted this and next year, undermined by governments’ financial woes and possible overregulation, a top business group said.
Presenting its twice-yearly forecast, BusinessEurope said on Monday the 16-country euro area’s economy is expected to expand by 1.0 percent this year and 1.3 percent in 2011, a slight downward revision compared to figures published in February.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers on Monday approved Estonia’s bid to join the currency area next year as its 17th member, reassuring other candidates that the bloc would remain open despite its debt problems.
Siding with a recommendation by the European Union’s executive arm, the ministers said the Baltic country of 1.4 million met all criteria to adopt the euro, and had committed to tough fiscal policies together with structural reform.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The chief of the International Monetary Fund and euro zone finance ministers downplayed on Monday market fears that Hungary, which is outside the single-currency area, could face a debt crisis like Greece.
“I see no reason to be … concerned. They (the Hungarian government) will do what they have to do. It’s difficult,” IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters after talks with finance ministers from the 16-country euro zone.