April 23, 2020 / 3:04 PM / a month ago

ECB warns EU leaders of doing too little, too late about coronavirus effects

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The head of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde warned European Union leaders on Thursday about the risk of doing too little and too late to shield the economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, an official said.

The official, familiar with Lagarde’s remarks to the leaders during a video-conference on Thursday afternoon, said she also urged them to quickly set up a strong and flexible recovery fund that would ensure all EU governments can respond to the fiscal challenges of a recovery.

She also warned leaders that in a severe downturn scenario, euro zone gross domestic product could shrink as much as 15% this year against 2019, and that the contraction could be 9% in a middle scenario, the official said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski

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