Fragile eurozone economy set for triple-dip recession

EU's Juncker pledges investment package by year-end

GMT 12:28 2014 Wednesday ,22 October

Arab Today, arab today EU's Juncker pledges investment package by year-end

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
Brussels - Arab Today

The EU's incoming chief Jean-Claude Juncker vowed on Wednesday to unveil a huge growth investment package before Christmas but also promised to enforce budget rules as lawmakers prepared to vote on his new team.
"Let's get Europe moving again," Juncker told lawmakers as the world watched for signs of how the European Commission, which will oversee the bloc for the next five years, would stop the continent sliding back into recession.
In his keynote address to the European Parliament before it voted on whether to approve the 28-member commission, future Commission President Juncker called on legislators to back his 300-billion-euro ($380-billion) investment package to boost the economy and create employment.
"If you give us your support today, we will present the jobs, growth and investment package before Christmas," Juncker said.
"To those who think excessive austerity will automatically revive growth and create more jobs, they should drop those ideas."
World markets plunged last week on concerns that the fragile eurozone economy was set for a triple-dip recession.
The European Union is riven by a fierce debate between Germany and its allies which want more austerity to tackle national deficits, and those such as France which want to spend their way back into economic health.
Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg, promised to be "tough when we need to be tough", with one of his commission's first tasks likely to be dealing with France over its budget deficit.
Last week, France presented a spending plan with a deficit -- the shortfall between revenue and spending -- of 4.3 percent of output, far above the 3.0-percent ceiling set by the European Union for member states.
Juncker said that he would take a careful look at a controversial yet central element of a proposed giant EU-US free-trade deal which would enable corporations to sue governments.
Juncker also said the EU had to do more to tackle issues such as the Ebola virus outbreak ravaging west Africa, the threat of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria, and the wave of migration from the Mediterranean.
"We only reacted when the Ebola problem arrived on EU shores. We should have acted much sooner," he said.
Referring to the self-styled Islamic State group, he said it was an "enemy of EU values."
Juncker however made no mention of the crisis in Ukraine, which has raised tensions with Russia.
Source: AFP

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