The European Union has forecast “a recession of historic proportions this year” due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The bloc’s 27-nation economy is predicted to contract by a record 7.5% in 2020, before growing by around 6% in 2021, according to the spring economic forecast released Wednesday by the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU. Its the EU’s first official forecast of the damage the pandemic is inflicting on the bloc’s economy.
“Europe is experiencing an economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression,” European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Paolo Gentiloni said in a statement. “Both the depth of the recession and the strength of recovery will be uneven, conditioned by the speed at which lockdowns can be lifted, the importance of services like tourism in each economy and by each country’s financial resources. Such divergence poses a threat to the single market and the euro area — yet it can be mitigated through decisive, joint European action. We must rise to this challenge.”
Less than three months ago, the European Commission predicted “a path of steady, moderate growth” for the region this year and next of 1.2%.
Now, nearly 1.2 million people across Europe have contracted the novel coronavirus and more than 139,000 have died, according to the latest data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.