European Restructuring Monitor Quarterly - 2010, Issue 1

Hurley J, Riso S, Salvatore L, Billingham D, Schulze-Marmeling S, Broughton A |  Issue 1, Spring | European Monitoring Centre on Change | May 2010

Though no longer in recession, the EU economy remained fragile, with growth well below trend rates. Unemployment continued to rise, though at a slowing pace (it stood at 9.6% in the EU27 in February 2010).

Financial market activity had stabilised, with few signs of a return to the volatility experienced in late 2008. The main macroeconomic preoccupation in the first quarter of 2010 related to the state and sustainability of the public finances in a number of Member States with high levels of government indebtedness.

In a context of perceived risks to the stability of the euro, a common eurozone response to the Greek sovereign debt situation was emerging in the second week of April. Without a broadly based return to growth, problems related to high levels of public debt were felt likely to re-emerge.

On a more positive note, data from the US and Japan showed signs of a more healthy recovery with real growth of 1.4% and 0.9% respectively in the most recent quarter. Alongside more positive indicators from developing countries, it was felt this might serve to underpin the European recovery in 2010.