The European Union is the latest governmental body to declare the coronavirus pandemic the originator of economic doom. In its latest proclamation, it said the pandemic has caused the worst economic downturn since World War II.
“It is now quite clear that the E.U. has entered the deepest economic recession in its history,” said Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, today at a news conference, reported the Associated Press. The EU was created in 1993.
Gentiloni also said that it is the worst “economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression. Gentiloni’s comment follows predictions that the economy of the European Union will shrink by 7.4% this year, before expanding by 6.1% next year.
Much of the damage has already been done. Unemployment is through the roof, state spending is at record highs, and Europe’s five largest banks have lost 40% of their market capitalization in the first quarter of this year, according to data from Finanso.se
Gentiloni said that the damage will be “uneven” in its distribution across the member states. Those dependent on tourism, like Spain and Italy (which are also among the countries worst affected by the pandemic), will be more vulnerable, as will countries that rely on short-term labour contracts, according to the EU.
The recovery will also be uneven; the pace will be “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,” said Gentiloni.
Gentiloni said that ”decisive, joint European action” will mitigate the concern. But the European Union is far from unified. Britain, one of the richest EU member states, has elected to leave the union; the decision was taken long before the coronavirus pandemic, and lawmakers have not since revised their timeline.
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