As virus restrictions bite, EU extends safety net till 2023
The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, reckons that fiscal support worth around 8% of GDP was provided in 2020, far more than during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. “There is hope on the horizon for the EU economy, but for now the pandemic continues to hurt people’s livelihoods and the wider economy,” Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said Wednesday. Ad“To cushion this impact and to promote a resilient and sustainable recovery, our clear message is that fiscal support should continue as long as needed. Based on current indications, the general escape clause would remain active in 2022 and be deactivated in 2023,” Dombrovskis said. The decision to extend the general escape clause is a sign of just how uncertain things are.
EU hopeful for firm economic growth despite virus challenges
European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni speaks during an online news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Growth in the wider 27-nation EU is predicted to hit 3.7% this year and 3.9% in 2022 following last year's 6.3% slide. We will still have a great deal to do to contain the wider socio-economic fallout.”Gentiloni conceded though that the virus is posing major economic and social challenges. “None of the member states is expected return in 2022 to the growth path projected before the crisis. In 2022, GDP in the EU and the euro-area will remain about 4% below what pre-pandemic forecasts had projected,” he said.
EU forecasts deeper economic hit from pandemic
BRUSSELS The European Union's executive forecasts that the bloc's economy will contract more than previously expected because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused lockdowns on business and public life that are only slowly being eased. The 27-nation EU economy is predicted to contract by 8.3% this year, before growing 5.8% in 2021, according to the latest predictions released Tuesday. The road to recovery is still paved with uncertainty," EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni told reporters in Brussels. In the previous forecasts released in May, when most of the continent was under lockdown, the blocs GDP was forecast to contract by about 7.5% this year, and to bounce back by 6% in 2021. In May it had forecast a 7.8% decline this year, and growth of 6.3% in 2021.
Russia claims its new hypersonic weapon is ready for war
WASHINGTON Russia's defense minister on Friday declared a new hypersonic weapon, which is said to be capable of striking the United States, ready for war. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a conference call with Russian military leaders that the first missile unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered combat duty. Avangard can travel at least five times the speed of sound, or about one mile per second. It was one of the six new weapons that Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled in March 2018. At the time, the Russian leader claimed the hypersonic weapon was capable of reaching targets at 20 times the speed of sound and that it could strike "like a fireball."cnbc.com