Finance ministers from the Eurogroup – the countries using the euro – have been meeting in Brussels amid continuing gloom about the state of European economies.
They have been considering a report from EU employment and social affairs ministers that the “unprecedented recession” could add six million unemployed by next year. The meeting comes against a background of central banks cutting rates to historic lows and governments enacting major spending packages in a bid to revive the ailing global economy. The ministers agreed there is to be no improvement in Europe’s economic situation at least until 2010. Eurogroup President Jean Claude Juncker said: “We note that the economic situation has got worse since our meeting in February. There are no economic indicators that the situation will turn itself in the right direction. We are all agreed, the 16 ministers of the euro zone, that recent appeals from the Americans for budgetary measures to battle against the effects of the crisis are not right for us.” Ministers heard more money would be needed to prop up eastern European economies. Austria’s Finance Minister Josef Pröll said the consensus is that the European Commission’s line of credit will have to be extended beyond the current limit of 25 billion euros. Six and a half billion has already gone to Hungary and just over three billions to Latvia.