EU Commission: Economy is Getting Worse

STRASBOURG, France (AP) -- The EU Commission's president warned Wednesday that the European economy is getting worse and that EU leaders should hurry to approve a proposed stimulus program.

"Things are bad and are likely to get worse before becoming better," EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament.

Unemployment is rising across Europe and several nations are already in recession, including the EU's largest economy, Germany.

Barroso said EU governments should swiftly push through a European Commission program to spend 1.5 percent of gross domestic product - some euro200 billion ($265 billion) - to boost economic growth.

Most of that money must come from governments and the EU is telling them to spend it on research and training to help the economy without directly subsidizing businesses, which might trigger competition problems.

Germany was one of several EU nations that was initially reluctant to commit to any kind of alone stimulus package - whether alone or with other countries. Berlin finally agreed this week on a new euro50 billion spending plan as growth brakes sharply.

The EU executive says it is still waiting for governments to give the final word releasing euro5 billion of unspent agriculture funds that the Commission wants to spend on better Internet and energy links.

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