European Commission Warns EU Faces Historic Recession due to Coronavirus

China crash (Andy Wong / Associated Press)
Andy Wong / Associated Press

The European Commission has warned that the entire European Union could be facing a historic recession due to the economic impact of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The Commission’s spring forecast predicts that the economies of various European Union member states could collectively shrink by as much as 7.4 per cent in 2020 due to the economic turmoil and fallout caused by the pandemic outbreak.

Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday in comments reported by Euractiv: “Both the depth of the recession and the strength of the 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.”

The Commission predicts countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain could see their economies shrink by as much as nine per cent. Sweden, which has not enforced the same strict lockdown measures as other countries, is still predicted to see a six per cent decline.

Unemployment across the EU is expected to increase from 6.7 per cent in 2019 to nine per cent in 2020 and see a slight recovery next year with a 7.9 per cent unemployment rate expected.

Even before the Chinese virus outbreak, Swedish unemployment was said to be on the rise. A report from January predicted the unemployment rate to rise to at least 7.2 per cent, with migrant unemployment also expected to surge this year.

Italy, one of the hardest countries hit by the Wuhan coronavirus in the European Union, has seen a surge of anti-EU sentiment among its citizenry over Brussels’ handling of the crisis.

A poll released in mid-April by the firm Tecnè revealed that as many as 49 per cent of Italians said their country would be better off outside of the European Union.

Anti-EU attitudes in Italy have remained high even after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen apologised twice to the Italian people for the EU’s inadequate response to the crisis.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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