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Gloomy Forecasts: EU Finance Ministers Mull Recession Measures - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Pessimism is rampant in the European Union with forecasts now assuming a 4 percent contraction in the bloc's economy this year. As budget deficits balloon and unemployment soars, finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss measures to combat the crisis.

Amid extremely gloomy economic forecasts, Europe is bracing itself for a huge hike in unemployment, mounting budget deficits and, according to some, possible social unrest. The issues promise to loom large on Tuesday as European Union finance ministers gather in Brussels. And with some new member states facing severe budget difficulties, the 27 ministers are expected to double the amount of money it lends to some struggling countries.

 Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück (L) and his French counterpart Christine Lagarde look glum ahead of the EU finance ministers meeting on Tuesday. "It seems ... the recession is at its worst, but hopefully next year we'll start coming out of it," Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, who chairs the meeting, told reporters ahead of the meeting.

Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Papathanassiou called on his counterparts to work at returning to fiscal discipline as soon as the crisis over. "We have to return to the limits of the Stability and Growth Pact," he said on Tuesday.

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:56:53 PM EST
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