Following the recession that marked 2012, the EU economy is expected to stabilize in the first half of 2013, according to the EU spring forecast released here Friday.
GDP growth is projected to turn positive gradually in the second half of the year before gaining some traction in 2014.
Annual GDP growth this year is now forecast at minus 0.1 percent in the EU and at minus 0.4 percent in the euro area. For 2014, economic activity is projected to expand by 1.4 percent in the EU and 1.2 percent in the euro area.
"In view of the protracted recession, we must do whatever it takes to overcome the unemployment crisis in Europe. The EU's policy mix is focused on sustainable growth and job creation," EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn, told a press conference presenting.
However, the forecast notes that the recovery of economic activity is expected to be too slow to reduce joblessness.
Unemployment is forecasted to reach 11 percent in the EU and 12 percent in the euro area in 2013 and to stabilize at these levels in 2014.