EU economy projected to grow by 4.2 pct in 2021

BRUSSELS, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The economy of the 27-member European Union will grow by 4.2 percent in 2021 and 4.4 percent in 2022, higher than previous estimates, the European Commission said Wednesday in its Spring Forecast.

Photo taken on Dec. 30, 2018 shows the Euro sculpture in front of the Eurotower in Frankfurt, Germany. (Xinhua/Lu Yang)

The higher economic forecasts come as the vaccination rollout sped up across the EU, resulting in a more ambitious easing of restrictions on business operations, it said.

The rebound in Europe's economy that began last summer stalled in the fourth quarter of 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021, but "the EU and euro area economies are expected to rebound strongly as vaccination rates increase and restrictions are eased," it said.

The resumed growth will be driven by private consumption, investment and a rising demand for EU exports from a strengthening global economy, it added.

A forecast by the Commission made in February had projected that the EU economy would grow by 3.7 percent in 2021 and 3.9 percent in 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a historic blow to the pan-Europe bloc, with its economy contracting by 6.1 percent in 2020.