The European Commission said on Monday that uncertainty about U.S. policies, Brexit and elections in Germany and France would take their toll on the euro zone economy this year. Ivor Bennett reports.
There's been plenty of flag waving in Europe recently. But not the type Brussels would like. (SOUNDBITE) (French) EU ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER, PIERRE MOSCOVICI, SAYING: "The British vote to leave the European Union and a certain discontent or even revolt against globalisation in other electoral choices will certainly have consequences for our economy." The European Commission expects growth within the euro zone will slow to 1.6 percent this year. But predicts Britain will suffer more. Suggesting expansion there will nearly halve by 2018, despite recent resilience. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER, PIERRE MOSCOVICI, SAYING: "The referendum result is expected to impact business investment later in 2017. Private consumption growth is also projected to weaken as inflation rises." The picture elsewhere is more uncertain. The French and German elections cited as economic risks. While Greece and its debt could once again take centre stage. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS, MARKET ANALYST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "We're now pushing the maturity of this debt well into the 2030s, and 2040s. So we've already got a very very long way to go and I can't help but feel that within the next year or so somebody's bluff is going to be called." The greatest unknown though is Trump. The Commission still waiting for news on banking regulation, tax and fiscal cooperation.