European finance ministers, holding one of their regular meetings in Brussels, have expressed satisfaction with the region’s economic outlook. Their gathering took place as the European Commission improved its forecast for growth in the region saying it will be better than the US and Japan this year.
They did not even complain about the strong euro and higher interest rates. The ministers also stopped short of proposing new regulations for high-risk, high-return hedge funds saying for the moment they will continue to monitor the industry and move ahead with plans for a voluntary code of conduct.
On the single European currency, the finance ministers limited themselves to their usual statement against wild currency swings. Euro zone ministers also implicitly warned French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy over his calls to curb the independence of the European Central Bank. Sarkozy has complained that more should be done to weaken the euro against other currencies to help the region’s exporters.