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EU hopeful for firm economic growth despite virus challenges

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BRUSSELS – Despite deep uncertainty over a surge in coronavirus cases and the impact of new variants of the disease, senior European Commission officials on Thursday expressed cautious optimism that European economies will rebound later this year and in 2022.

In its winter interim economic forecasts, the European Union’s executive body predicts that growth in the 19 nations using the euro will reach 3.8% this year and next after a 6.3% drop in 2020.

Growth in the full 27-nation EU is predicted to hit 3.7% in 2021 and 3.9% next year. The forecast hinges on the assumption that coronavirus restrictions will remain tight for most of the first half of this year but ease in late Spring, when most vulnerable people around Europe like the elderly

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