The crisis-battered eurozone faces an extended recession - with a contraction of 0.3 per cent now expected this year - while two of its largest economies are set to miss their deficit
goals, dpa cited a European Union forecast on Friday.
"The ongoing rebalancing of the European economy is continuing to weigh on growth in the short term," EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn noted. "It is very important that we aim at an as rational and
optimal making of economic policy as possible."
The EU may thus decide in May to grant France and Spain more time to whittle down their deficits, if final data shows they have made "credible" budgetary efforts and suffered unexpected growth setbacks, Rehn said.