Better off out.
Half of the 12 countries using the euro are projected to break the European Union's budget deficit rules this year as the continent's economic growth continues to lag far behind the rest of the world's, the EU's head office reported yesterday.
The euro zone will see growth in 2004 of only 1.7 percent, compared with projections of 4.2 percent in the United States, 3.4 percent in Japan, and around 7 percent for the rest of Asia, the European Commission said.
While the euro area is accelerating from last year's anemic 0.4 percent growth, the commission trimmed its 2004 prognosis from last fall's 1.8 percent because "overall, the balance of risks appears to have shifted toward the downside in recent months," the report said.
EU economics commissioner Pedro Solbes blamed a lack of progress in reforming labor markets, pensions, and healthcare systems by governments afraid of paying a price at the polls -- as happened last month in France.
Not much to add to that is there...