(Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via Reuters) (Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via Reuters)

“By the end of 2021, only Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, and Poland are projected to attain the level of economic activity from the last quarter of 2019,” said Gentiloni while presenting the European Commission’s spring economic forecasts.

Gentiloni noted that the economies of EU member states are set to shrink by 7.4 percent this year as the coronavirus crisis is on track to cause the worst recession in the bloc’s history.

In comparison, during the previous financial crisis, the EU contracted by 4.3 percent and the eurozone by 4.4% in 2009, the worst year of the crisis.

The EU’s chief economist said on Wednesday that both the depth of the recession and the strength of the recovery would depend on the speed at which national lockdowns are lifted.

Once countries start to overcome the health crisis, and confinement measures are lifted, the Commission expects a gradual improvement of European output by the end of the year. Meanwhile, in 2021, they predict a significant economic rebound of just over six percent.

The European Commission will prepare in the next few weeks a plan to finance the economic recovery in the European Union, which is expected to be approved by EU leaders in June.

The Commissioner concluded that the plan would include a mix of grants and long-term loans.

Source: HRT