Almost half of the member states of the European Union (EU) will not be able to fully recover the economy from the effects of the covid-19 until the end of 2022, and countries dependent on tourism, such as Portugal, should take longer, estimates the European Commission.
“Almost half of our Member States are unlikely to recover their Gross Domestic Product [GDP] at levels prior to the pandemic until the end of 2022 ″, declared European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni, speaking at a press conference in Brussels, in the presentation of the autumn macroeconomic forecasts of the community executive.
According to the official, this estimate “reflects the difference in the severity of the pandemic and the severity of the related containment measures”, but also “differences in internal political responses and economic structures”.
“It is even expected that countries with large sectors of tourism will take longer to achieve a full recovery”, added Paolo Gentiloni.
The European Commission today revised downward the pace of economic recovery in the eurozone in 2021 in view of the resurgence of the covid-19 pandemic, now estimating that it will only recover 4.2% after a 7.8% contraction this year.
In its autumn economic forecasts, published today, Brussels slightly improves macroeconomic projections for this year, now anticipating a drop in GDP of around 7.8% in the single currency space – which remains a negative record – when in July, in the interim summer forecasts, it pointed to a drop of 8.7%.
For the 27 Member States as a whole, the Commission also improves last July’s forecast by nine tenths, now anticipating a 7.4% decline this year, against 8.3% in the summer.
Paolo Gentiloni explained to the press that, in order to arrive at these forecasts, the community executive assumed that “some degree of containment measures will remain in force throughout the forecast horizon”, that is, until 2022.
“This explains the slower path of recovery”, stressed the European Commissioner, recalling that, “after a significant tightening in the fourth quarter of 2020”, with the introduction of new containment measures such as lighter confinement and closure of establishments, it is expected that “the rigor of the measures will gradually decrease in 2021 ″.
Insisting that “it is not easy to have solid predictions in such an uncertain situation”, Paolo Gentiloni took it for granted that “the pandemic caused the deepest recession in EU history in the first half of 2020, surpassing that which occurred in the great financial crisis”.
“This contraction, which was uneven across Member States, was followed by a strong recovery in the third quarter, as containment measures were eased,” added the official, noting that, in recent weeks, “the recovery has been interrupted. ”Due to the resurgence of infections.
But even before this second wave of covid-19, the European Commission found that “certain parts of the industry, such as construction and retail trade, recovered vigorously during the summer, driven by strong pent-up demand,” according to Paolo Gentiloni.
However, the same did not happen in services that depend on person-to-person contacts, whose activity levels “have remained weaker, since containment measures have remained in place, affecting the demand and supply of services that involve, for example, travel, tourism, restaurants, and entertainment ”, said the European commissioner.
Portugal is one of the European countries most dependent on the tourism sector, which has been increasingly weighing on the national economy, representing almost 15% of GDP and 9% of employment.