The Covid‐19 pandemic and its economic consequences present an unprecedented challenge to Greece and the world. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has established an emergency 1-billion-euro “Solidarity Package” of measures to support its economies. This resilience framework of new funding has been designed for its existing clients, comprising emergency liquidity, working capital and trade finance.
This is only a first step, as the bank stands ready to further scale up its response, and is taking active and urgent steps to review, adjust and expand its financing instruments, in partnership with its countries of operations, partner international financial institutions (IFIs) and the international community. The EBRD will do whatever is required to support businesses in Greece and beyond.
The bank’s efforts are focused on small businesses, which are expected to be hit hard by the crisis and face credit difficulties, but also on the tourism and energy sectors.
Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic will have a negative impact on the economic performance of the EBRD regions, which apart from Greece include the rest of the Balkans, Southeastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey and the Southeastern Mediterranean. Countries that are highly integrated into global supply chains are likely to suffer the most from the virus. The EBRD’s economists say the actual and feared impact of the coronavirus is affecting supply and demand simultaneously. The tourism industry is already affected in many of the EBRD’s countries.
Once the outbreak is contained, we expect a robust recovery. But the final economic impact will depend on the duration of the pandemic, as well as policy response by national authorities and governments in key export markets.
The EBRD is coordinating with other multilateral development banks and working closely with partners, such as the European Union, to offer the best solutions and help face the biggest health crisis of our time.
* Andreea Moraru is the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for Greece and Cyprus.