Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
EU Leaders Tackle Inflation, Energy    06/24 06:14

   A day after endorsing Ukraine's candidacy to join the European Union, the 
bloc's leaders turned their attention Friday to the severe economic turbulence 
looming over the coming months as the full impact of Russia's war sinks in and 
the threat of recession rises.

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- A day after endorsing Ukraine's candidacy to join the 
European Union, the bloc's leaders turned their attention Friday to the severe 
economic turbulence looming over the coming months as the full impact of 
Russia's war sinks in and the threat of recession rises.

   The EU's 27 leaders gathered in Brussels to grapple with surging inflation, 
energy shocks, dwindling business and consumer confidence, and growing budget 
pressures.

   The leaders also will have to contend with higher borrowing costs as the 
European Central Bank prepares to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 
years to counter runaway price increases. ECB President Christine Lagarde, who 
plans to raise rates next month and again in September, joined the EU summit to 
discuss the darkening economic outlook.

   "We are in a difficult situation," Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena 
Andersson said on her way into the summit. "It's very important that we have 
this discussion."

   The EU has spent the previous decade battling a series of crises, ranging 
from Greece's financial woes and transatlantic trade disruptions under former 
U.S. President Donald Trump to Britain's departure from the bloc and the 
COVID-19 pandemic.

   The EU's executive arm, the European Commission, on Friday announced plans 
to issue 50 billion euros ($52.7 billion) of EU bonds to aid member countries 
between July and December as part of its flagship economic recovery program.

   With no end in sight to the war in Ukraine and the EU committed to stepping 
up sanctions against Russia as punishment, the bloc must battle economic 
threats on multiple fronts.

   Energy poses a major challenge for the EU, which for years has relied 
heavily on Russian oil, natural gas and coal to help power cars, factories, 
heating systems and electricity plants.

   Under pressure to keep pace with American and British penalties against 
Russia, the EU since April has expanded what were already unprecedented 
sanctions by targeting Russian fuels. A ban on imports of Russian coal will 
start in August and an embargo on most oil from Russia will be phased in over 
the coming eight months.

   Meanwhile, Moscow itself is disrupting natural gas deliveries, which the EU 
didn't include in its own sanctions for fear of seriously harming the European 
economy. Before the war, the bloc got about 40% of its gas from Russia.

   "It's very likely that Russia will use gas and energy as a blackmail toward 
European Union countries," Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said. "Russia 
will use it as a tool, as a weapon against us, so we have to help each other."

   Moscow has reduced gas supplies to five EU countries, including heavy 
importers Germany and Italy, and cut off deliveries to six member states, such 
as Finland.

   Germany on Thursday triggered the second phase of a three-stage emergency 
plan for gas supplies, saying the country faces a "crisis." Weaknesses in 
Germany, Europe's largest economy, risk having a broad spillover effect and 
making the EU's latest economic growth forecasts look too rosy.

   "The impact will be enormous for Germany but also for all the other European 
countries," Belgian Premier Alexander De Croo said.

   In May, the European Commission said the EU's economic output would expand 
2.7% this year and 2.3% in 2023 after 5.4% growth in 2021. Other forecasts have 
already downgraded growth prospects. As this year began, the bloc was still 
facing effects -- including higher budget deficits -- from the pandemic, which 
caused the economy to shrink 5.9% in 2020.

   The ECB has pledged to create a market backstop to protect the 19 countries 
that share the euro currency from market turmoil as it tackles record inflation 
of 8.1%. A selloff in the bonds of some euro nations was a central feature of 
the debt crisis a decade ago.

   "The next few months will be very difficult," said European Parliament 
President Roberta Metsola, who attended the first day of the summit Thursday.

 
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN