The 19-member eurozone is expected to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with gross domestic product growth beating forecasts and projected to reach 2.2%, well outpacing the United Kingdom, according to a European Commission report released on Thursday. Previously it thought growth would be 1.7 percent.
European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told a Brussels press conference: "After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated".
EU officials hope the dynamic economy will help ambitious reform drives by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron to deepen economic integretaion in the eurozone. In May the Commission forecast 2017 growth at 1.7 percent.
"Investment is also picking up amid favourable financing conditions and considerably brightened economic sentiment as uncertainty has faded", it said.
The 28-nation bloc as a whole will grow by 2.3 percent in 2017, up from the 1.9-percent anticipated in the spring.
Unsurprisingly, the EC's outlook for the United Kingdom is not especially optimistic.
In a regular forecast for all European Union economies, the Commission said the French budget deficit would fall to 2.9 percent of GDP this year from 3.4 percent in 2016 - making the 2017 deadline set by the European Union for the gap to shrink below 3 percent. The return to the previous pattern of forecasts brings the Commission's forecast schedule back in line with those of other institutions (e.g. the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
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Inflation should average around 1.3% for 2017, slightly below EU-average, contained by a relatively small increase in regulated fuel prices.
With that in mind, the figures for Greece - the European country most profoundly affected by the crisis - are encouraging.
Lower consumer price inflation in 2019 is expected to support consumer spending but this may be offset by a marginal increase in the household savings rate, the report said, with business investment is projected to remain subdued following a period of heightened uncertainty, while net export growth is forecast to moderate marginally.
"Greece for certain has emerged from crisis, Greece has crossed the rubicon of crisis", Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the EU-Arab world summit in Athens on Thursday.
From 2018, the European Commission will revert to publishing two comprehensive forecasts (spring and autumn) and two interim forecasts (winter and summer) each year, instead of the three comprehensive forecasts in winter, spring and autumn that it has produced each year since 2012.
The delay in closing the second review on the programme, earlier this year, is a "major explanation", Moscovici said, as consumption and investment were "hit more than we had expected" by uncertainty over negotiations between Athens and its creditors.