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EC maintains Ireland’s growth forecast at 0.5pc for 2012

THE European Commission has maintained its growth forecast for Ireland to 0.5pc for 2012 but expects the economy to grow by 1.9pc in 2013.

But it lowered its forecast for the eurozone economy which it expects will shrink by 0.3pc in 2012 although it says it will recover and grow by 1pc next year.

In its Spring Economic Forecast, the EC expects unemployment across the eurozone to remain at a high of 11pc in 2012 and 2013, the Commission said.

The EU says that it expects the French economy to grow less than the 1.3pc expected by new French President Francois Hollande.

Spain will miss its 2012 and 2013 public deficit targets and the country will remain in recession through 2013, according to the EU.

It’s budget deficit will reach 6.4pc this year, way off the Spanish government's 5.3pc target, and 6.3pc in 2013, while the economy will shrink this year and next year.