Fear of economic collapse

The EU Commission is predicting a dramatic 7.7 percent slump in the economy for this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Greece is expected to be the worst hit, with a 9.7 percent downturn, followed by Italy and Spain. Commentators see an unprecedented crisis looming, regardless of how governments react.

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Avgi (GR) /

A new nightmare for Greece

The Greek government is playing down the impending disaster, Avgi believes:

“The expected recession is a whole percentage point higher than the one in 2011, the worst year of the austerity policy. ... The return to 20 percent unemployment will dishearten a society and an economy that has been making huge sacrifices for a decade in the effort to return to normality. As worrying and threatening as the Commission's prognoses are, the government's attempts to downplay them are even worse. ... Society can be under no illusions and must mobilise. Because the next problem is the question of who should shoulder the burden of the crisis.”

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

The highly educated will also be left without jobs

Whereas in the past a good education offered protection against unemployment, this has changed since the corona crisis, observes Hürriyet Daily News:

“We were expecting that blue-collar workers would be replaced by automated systems. We had thought that the biggest challenge of the near future would be to reeducate the blue-collar workers. Now we also face the problem of finding work to do for the highly skilled workforce as well. How can we tackle that? Do we create websites like Airbnb for the outgoing alumnae to post their resumes? Do we give incentives for people to start their own businesses? Do we do nothing and claim that the invisible hand of the market will solve this issue? Joblessness in the highly educated workforce is a new kind of problem that we have to solve.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Downturn with or without lockdown

Countries that refrained from imposing drastic measures will not feel the economic impact any less, the Financial Times says:

“A large number of people believe that, in order to protect the economy, the sensible thing to do was - and still is - to impose few or no restrictions on individual behaviour, other than to tell the most vulnerable to stay at home. Yet countries that refused to impose tight controls such as Sweden and the Netherlands are not now forecast to do better economically. They have had far more deaths than peers such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany or Norway. Yet their growth prospects, at least for now, are not expected to be any better. The assumed trade-off between suppression of the virus and the health of the economy, in the medium term, is illusory.”