Participants in the annual Brussels Economic Forum conference have been looking at ways to meet the economic challenges facing the EU and agreed that the single European currency is a good thing.
EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia pointed out the benefits when he said: “Were we without the single currency today, the present dollar weakness would be placing enormous strains on the euro area economies and would be having a serious impact on trade and investment. We ought to recall this simple fact, for those who forget our past monetary turbulences.”
At the conference, Almunia and the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said the biggest challenge now is for the 15 countries using the euro to adopt common external economic policies.
As they met, the EU statistics office announced euro zone economic growth rebounded more strongly than expected in the first quarter. On an annualised basis, gross domestic product rose 2.2%. GDP was up 0.7% from the previous quarter, with strong performances by Germany and France, while Spain and Italy were weaker. Sustained growth reinforces the European Central Banks policy of not cutting interest rates.