BRUSSELS 

The coronavirus pandemic hit the European economy harder than it was expected, Paolo Gentiloni, the EU commissioner for economy, said on Tuesday.

According to the EU’s 2020 summer economic forecast, the bloc’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract 8.3 % in 2020, and grow 5.8% next year.

These figures show a more severe crisis than it was projected by the European Commission’s spring economic forecast.

The contraction for 2020 is significantly greater compared to the 7.4% suggested in May, and growth in 2021 will also be less robust than it was previously expected.

“The road to recovery is still paved with uncertainty,” Gentiloni said, pointing out that the EU leaders need to agree soon on a recovery plan.

France, Italy, and Spain will be the hardest hit by the recession among EU countries, according to the latest data. Their economies may shrink respectively by 10.6, 11.2, and 10.9% of the GDP.

Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland can prepare for a minor contraction of 6.3, 6.8, and 4.6%, respectively.

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