The Delta variant of coronavirus casts its shadow on the European economy as well. The optimistic recovery forecasts are giving way to concerns about the increase in infections and the reestablishment of social and travel restrictions by more and more governments.
The Commission raised its growth forecast to a pre-pandemic level
Just as the lifting of lockdowns in recent months had fueled the rebound in activity and business, retail spending and household confidence and many analysts had raised forecasts for growth on the continent.
The European Commission itself had raised its growth estimates for the 27 in 2021 to 4.8%, after the record contraction of 6.2% last year.
This would be the fastest expansion seen since no less than 1976. It would bring the EU economy back to pre-pandemic level by the end of the year. But this would only be possible without the introduction of new restrictions and with fully open economies.
The Spanish tourism sector, in suspense
However, on Friday, Germany and France advised their nationals not to travel to Spain, where coronavirus infections have overtaken Portugal. A true jug of cold water for the tourism sector of this country at the beginning of a crucial season. The one who was the Government Spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, made it that clear.
“For us it is very important that we are able to preserve the arrival of tourists for the remainder of July, August and September. We are working bilaterally with all those where there may be some kind of concern.”
Vaccination and PCR in Portugal
Portugal, for its part, requires vacationers to be vaccinated, have a negative coronavirus test or have recovered from the infection in order to stay in their hotels or eat inside restaurants in many areas of the country.
“A negative test or a digital certificate will be required in all tourist accommodation to enter,” said the Minister of the Presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva. “This measure increases security. It does not restrict economic activity and increases security, which is the objective of our measures.”
The Netherlands also back down
The Netherlands announced last Friday the reinstatement of restrictions on bars, restaurants, nightlife venues and live events just two weeks after they were removed. His rate of daily infections has multiplied by ten.
And Cyprus again limited the number of people in hospitality and entertainment establishments last week after registering the highest daily increase in infections of the year.