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A COVID-19 Marshall Plan for Europe

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LONDON – Eurozone finance ministers finally agreed on April 9 to a package of measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. But in the face of an unprecedented medical and economic emergency, they need to be much bolder.

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    The lockdowns imposed in most European countries are economically devastating. Because many businesses are shuttered and almost everyone is confined to their homes, consumer spending has collapsed and economic activity has plummeted. Bankruptcy looms for many companies, unemployment is skyrocketing, and household incomes are cratering.

    According to one official estimate, France’s economy is now operating at around two-thirds capacity. Assuming that similar contractions apply throughout the European Union, a three-month lockdown would cause annual output to fall by around 8% – a far bigger shock than in the 2008-09 crisis.........

    © Project Syndicate