Europe’s economic outlook brightens a little after avoiding recession. But inflation still squeezes

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Union’s executive body raised its economic growth forecast, saying Europe had dodged a winter recession that was feared amid an energy crisis. But stubbornly high inflation is likely to keep hurting the economy by sapping people’s ability to spend. In a spring forecast Monday, the European Commission says it expects improved economic growth of 1.1% this year. That’s up from 0.9% in the commission’s previous predictions in February. But the European economy faces persistent challenges from inflation and rising interest rates that the European Central Bank is unleashing to try to tame spikes in consumer prices.