Europe narrowly escapes recession

In an interview with the “world”, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, welcomes that in 2022 “growth in Europe was stronger than in the United States and China”.

by virginie malingre (Brussels, European office)

Finally, despite the war in Ukraine, despite the return of inflation, Europe should – in early 2023 – accurately escape the recession which threatened it at the end of 2022. In this context, the executive revised at the increase his forecasts, Monday, February 13. In 2022, growth is now 3.5 % within the European Union (EU) as in the euro zone. It should then mark the step and reach 0.8 and 0.9 % respectively (against 0.3 % in its previous forecasts) in 2023 then 1.6 and 1.5 % in 2024.

“In 2022, growth in Europe was stronger than in the United States and China,” welcomed Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for the Economy, during an interview with three newspapers, of which MO12345lemonde. Before continuing: “I would never have imagined that, in my lifetime, I would see a stronger growth in Italy than in China. But it happened in 2022”.

Not only, the job market, with a historically low unemployment rate (6.1 % at the end of 2022), has so far resisted and helped to remove the spectrum from the recession. But above all, the twenty-seven resisted the energy crisis better than anticipated. While in the summer of 2022, they feared lacking gas, after Gazprom had closed the tap, Europeans avoided the worst by diversifying their sources of supply and reducing their consumption. They also had the chance that the weather was relatively soft. At the four corners of the old continent, governments have also supported consumers and businesses to help them cope with the prices.

Today, gas is less expensive than before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, February 24, 2022. And the contracts on the markets do not let me imagine rebound at the levels that the European Union was able to know the summer of 2022, when the megawatt hour was worth more than 300 euros (against 55 euros today). In this context, inflation, after peaking at 10.6 % in October 2022, began to decelerate. It should have reached 9.2 % (8.4 % within the euro zone) in 2022 before falling to 6.4 % in 2023 (5.6 % in monetary union) and 2.8 % in 2024 (2.5 %).

For non -energy products, the decline in inflation is less clear. The prices of industrial metals, in particular, have started upwards and the prospect of a return China on the world market, now that it has lightened its anti-Cavid restrictions, can worry. This is one of the vagaries that weighs on the predictions of the Commission, even if a resumption of Chinese growth would also mean an increase in the world trade from which Europe would benefit. The uncertainty surrounding these forecasts is “high”, warns the former Italian Prime Minister, who cites, among other things, the tightening of monetary policies. But “the main risk is that of geopolitical tensions, that of the evolution of war” in Ukraine, continues Paolo Gentiloni.

You have 52.4% of this article to read. The continuation is reserved for subscribers.

/Media reports cited above.