Output fell by 11.3 percent month-on-month in the bloc’s 19-currency single currency area. Year-on-year industrial production was down 12.9 percent compared to March 2019, with Germany, the EU’s largest economy registering its own double-digit drop. The country’s output fell by 11.2 percent in March after much of its economy was closed down to halt the spread of the pandemic.
Among the EU’s largest economies, production in France (16.4 percent) and Italy (28.4 percent) were some of the worst-affected countries.
According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, said its calendar-adjusted industrial production index fell to 100.6 in March.
It said: “In the EU27, durable consumer goods fell by 21.7 percent, capital goods by 20 percent, intermediate goods by 10.1 percent, energy by 6.4 percent and non-durable consumer goods by 0.3 percent.”
However, some economies managed to record a rare growth in their industrial output.
The largest increases were seen in Ireland (25.3 percent), Malta (5.7 percent) and Finland (2.8 percent).
It comes after the EU commissioner in charge of the economy said coronavirus poses an “existential threat” to the bloc.
Paolo Gentiloni said the EU had entered “the deepest economic recession in its history”.
“What is clear is the uneven level of the recovery and the risks this creates to our single market and the necessary convergence, especially within the euro area,” he said.
“This is something that I could even define as an existential threat to the building of the Union.
“If we want to look from a more optimistic way it is not only an existential threat but also in some sense a historic opportunity to fill the void we have in common tools of economic and fiscal policies.”
According to the EU’s latest forecasts, the bloc is expected to see its economy shrink by 7.5 percent in 2020.
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The slump represents a bigger fall than the financial crisis nearly a decade ago.
The worst-hit countries – Greece, Italy, Spain and Croatia – face falls in GDP in excess of 9 percent.
Germany’s economy could contract by 6.5 percent and Austria’s by 5.5 percent.
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Berlin has now proposed offering help to other European countries to help revive the Eurozone economy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it’s essential to help the bloc after the coronavirus pandemic.
She said it was in “nobody’s interest for only Germany to be strong” following the crisis.
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