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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Seeks Boost for Infrastructure

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission will outline an initiative on Wednesday to boost sluggish growth in the 15-nation European Union by encouraging investment in infrastructure and research, a spokesman said Monday. He said the plan would have no direct effect on lower-than-previously-forecast growth this year.

"However, we expect to have an indirect effect on growth through confidence," EU economic and monetary affairs spokesman Gerassimos Thomas told a news briefing.

Confirming comments by Economic Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes on Saturday, he said that while the commission had no new forecast yet for 2003 euro zone growth, it expected to revise the figure downward in late October to around 0.75 percent from the 1.0 percent it projected in April.

Thomas said the commission would not automatically revise upward its forecast for euro zone public deficits due to the lowered growth expectations.

"There is not a straight linear effect," he said, adding that some countries, especially Germany, had taken more deficit-cutting measures since the spring forecast.

Chief commission spokesman Reijo Kemppinen said the initiative aims to give "a further impulse for investments to trans-European networks and major research and development projects."