Isabel Schnabel: “The European support plan may prove to be insufficient”

Vaccination is behind schedule in Europe. To what extent does this jeopardize the recovery of the Union?

The recovery depends very largely on the speed of the vaccination campaigns. These started slowly, but are accelerating in most member states. Our short-term projections have deteriorated due to the resurgence of the virus and new health restrictions in several countries. But the good news is that in the last quarter of 2020 the restrictions had fewer negative effects than in the first wave of the epidemic. The economy seems to be adapting better to the situation. The recovery will be helped by the new American support plan, the effects of which have not yet been incorporated into our projections. We are also anticipating new budgetary support measures in Europe, which will amplify the effects of our monetary policy. All this gives us hope for a strong rebound in economic activity in the second half of the year, once the health restrictions are lifted. According to our macroeconomic projections, growth in the euro zone will reach 4% this year. Real GDP should return to its pre-crisis level in the second quarter of 2022. However, the economic impact of the pandemic will undoubtedly be felt well beyond the health crisis. The economy will not be the same after the pandemic. Structural changes are necessary, which are never easy to implement. Jobs will disappear, others will develop. This process will take time.

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