Historians have repeatedly characterized the post-war period as the period with the highest prosperity for humanity. We improved our living standards and we prolonged the life expectancy, we shortened distances and we tamed energy. We felt unbeatable.
All of a sudden, a virus changed everything starting in a region of China, unknown to the rest of the world. We found ourselves facing a common enemy; we became the ‘starring figures’ of the same adventure.
Most of us have watched the video with Bill Gates warning humanity that the biggest threats are the pandemics and not the financial crises. Indeed, the entire human activity has been affected, the pandemic being an unprecedented situation. The impact on human lives and human pain unfortunately cannot be measured yet. However, there are two important assumptions:
• The high mobility in humanity, resulting from progress levels, accelerated virus spreading.
• Due to progress, the pandemic spreading (initially underestimated) could be halted in the same swiftness, through dissemination of information and measures taking, with the use of scientific data in order to discover a vaccine or treatment within a short period of time.
This is of course the work of scientists and hopefully they will perform their task effectively and quickly. What the rest of us should do is try to cope with the pandemic repercussions.
It is still early to assess the financial crisis because we are still watching it evolve and its entire impact will unfold in the upcoming months. Based on the first available data, the impact will be overwhelming. Various scenarios talk about a global recession of 4-7% in 2020 and a recovery of 3-5% in 2021.
Europe may have failed to recognize the health risk or to adopt a single policy to cope with the pandemic. However, it turned out being swift in reacting to this upcoming economic crisis, more than in the past and the liquidity boost seems to be satisfactory.
It is however important to acknowledge what we should be seeking after:
• The need to heal the first wave.
• The need to steer Europe towards recovery, with solidarity, unity and proper governance.
• There are differences in the way the various countries, regions and sectors have been affected and therefore different ways of treatment need to be adopted via European and not national policies.
• Such policies should be growth-oriented laying the foundations for the next day.
The road ahead looks bumpy and the impact will be of a global scale. This is why we need to shield ourselves and be equipped with all tools that would allow us to respond.
I wouldn’t like to be pessimistic because I believe that by now we have the capabilities to handle what is coming. I believe that for the first time the business world may be the big pillar of support. It is a support that will mitigate the shock. The State and the business world alike should capitalize on the opportunity in order to promote investments in research and technology, digitalization of economy, procedures simplification, measures for employment support and sustainability of the economy sectors that actually need it, support to the energy transition and climatic neutrality.
Over the past years, our country coped with a huge economic crisis. It managed to keep afloat and its economy started to rebound; we can return to recovery. We have the experience.
And just like we managed to present a success Story in the way we coped with the pandemic, similarly we can act to alleviate the upcoming crisis building another success story inviting once again positive comments from the entire world.
THE COMPANY AT A GLANCE
Sector: Energy, infrastructure, metallurgy
Turnover 2019: €2,256.1 million
Share Price Performance: +34,2%