By John S. McClenahen If its current economic forecast holds up, the 15-nation European Union (EU) isn't likely to fall into recession in 2002. However, as a group it won't be growing very fast either. Inflation-adjusted growth in GDP for the EU is forecast to be only 1.4% in 2002, down from the 1.7% expected for this year. As a point of comparison, EU economists expect the recession-injured U.S. to post just 0.5% growth in 2002, nearly half a percentage point down from this year's anticipated 0.9%. Greece, Ireland and Luxembourg are expected to be the EU's growth leaders in 2002, with real GDP advancing 3% or better. However, Germany, the onetime economic locomotive of Europe, is projected to post just a 0.7% advance. GDP growth of 1.5% is forecast for France, the Netherlands and Portugal. The forecast is for 1.7% growth in both the UK and Finland. Austria's GDP is expected to grow just 1.2%, Belgium's 1.3%, Denmark's 1.6%, Italy's 1.3%, Spain's 2% and Sweden's 1.6%.