Europe can avoid a recession, EU’s Gentiloni says

Europe is facing the impact of a “double crisis,” but the region can avoid a recession, Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for economic affairs, told CNBC on Saturday.

“I think we are we facing the impact of the double crisis,” Gentiloni said in reference to the geopolitical impact from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic hit to the European continent.

“From a geopolitical point of view, [the crisis] impacted also, of course, the U.S. and all the world, but from the economic point of view, it impacted seriously Europe and Germany in particular,” he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year sparked serious fears in Europe that the region would enter a significant economic slowdown.

However, the region has since been able to secure alternative energy supplies, which until then primarily came from Russia, and some governments were able to provide relief to consumers facing high energy costs.

The euro area, in the end, grew at a rate of 3.5% in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund. The institution expects a growth rate of 0.8% for the euro zone this year and 1.4% in 2024.

“We had an excellent 2022, higher growth than the U.S. and China,” Gentiloni told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the Ambrosetti Forum.

“The slowing down started from the last quarter of 2022 and it is there, but please don’t call this a recession, because I think we can avoid a recession, we are avoiding recession,” he said.

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