The European Commission on Friday restated its earlier position that the economies of the 17 eurozone countries would contract by an average 0.3% this year, but that the Dutch economy would shrink by 0.9%.
Next year, ‘recovery is in sight’, economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said, even though the ‘economic situation remains fragile, with still large disparities across member states’.
The Netherlands is forecast to show growth of 0.7% in 2013, slightly below the 1% forecast for the eurozone as a whole. The spring forecast figures are more pessimistic than those of the government’s own macro-economic forecasting agency CPB.
The Brussels calculations do not take into account the likely affect of austerity measures currently being finalised by the minority cabinet and three smaller parties. But Rehn reiterated that the Netherlands should not expect any leniency in meeting the 3% budget deficit limit in 2013.
While the Dutch jobless total is low in European terms at 5.9%, it is still high for the Netherlands, the commission’s report said.
Problems on the housing market and the pending austerity measures are likely to pressure consumer spending in the Netherlands. However, exports are likely to drive economic growth, the forecast said.