GENEVA / WESP EUROPE OUTLOOK

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16-Jan-2020 00:02:35
Growth in Europe is projected to remain moderate, as the region continues to face multiple downside risks, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020, which was launched today. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / WESP EUROPE OUTLOOK
TRT: 2:39
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 16 JANUARY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, exterior, flag alley, Palais des Nations, United Nations Geneva.
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) José Palacin, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe:
“So, the European Union, let’s draw a broad picture: you can look back or you can look forwards. Looking back, 2019 was a year of a slow-down, 2020 and 2021 see a slight pickup with moderate growth with GDP increasing by 1.6, 1.7 in the next two years.”
4. Close up, photographer
5. SOUNDBITE (English) José Palacin, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe:
“We expect surprises that probably are going to be bad and not good. So the first one, once more, is the possibility of an escalation of trade tensions. The latest news is that there seems to be a certain respite on this, but well, let’s not be complacent. Given the orientation of the European Union economy, trade tensions will have a significant impact on European exporters and potentially also on European companies that export from non-European locations.”
6. Close up, journalist typing
7. SOUNDBITE (English) José Palacin, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Office of the Executive Secretary (UNECE):
“Uncertainties have been dispelled but there is still a significant degree of things that are not known regarding the future of the relationship between the UK and the European Union so by the end of the month in principle, when the withdrawal will be complete, but future reconciliations and the pace of these negotiations, are still a question mark.”
8. Close up, camera
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Kozul-Wright, Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD:
“This heavy reliance on monetary policy, the heavy reliance on robust stock markets and rising asset prices does not translate into a balanced world economy- balance between countries, and balance within countries.”
10. Close up, press release
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Kozul-Wright, Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD:
“Are we optimistic or pessimistic? The Europeans have now just come up with a new green deal for Europe which is an attempt to rebalance the European economy at least making a gesture towards some of these policy measures. Financing it, in our opinion, is still not sufficient but it is a move in the right direction.”
12. Close up, camera
13. Med shot, journalists
14. Close up, journalist
15. Wide shot, podium

STORYLINE:

Growth in Europe is projected to remain moderate, as the region continues to face multiple downside risks, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020, which was launched today.

The global economy suffered its lowest growth in a decade in 2019, while Europe is expected to see only limited growth in the next two years. José Palacin, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, told journalists in Geneva today (16 Jan) that for Europe “2019 was a year of a slow-down, 2020 and 2021 sees a slight pickup with moderate growth which will increase by 1.6 in the next two years.”

According to the report, Europe is expected to see only limited growth of 1.6 per cent in 2020 and 1.7 per cent in 2021, against the backdrop of heightened global trade tensions, as exporters face numerous challenges, including tariffs, weaker demand, and greater policy uncertainty.

The report highlighted that risks remain strongly tilted towards the downside, amid deepening political polarizations, increasing skepticism over the benefits of multilateralism. With limited global policy space, risks have the potential to inflict severe and longlasting damage on society.

Palacin said that they “expect surprises that probably are going to be bad and not good.”

He added, “given the orientation of the European Union economy, trade tensions will have a significant impact on European exporters and potentially also on European companies that export from non-European locations.”

Other matters concerning stability of internal politics, including the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, will have a huge impact on the European economy. While the baseline forecast assumes that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union with a formal agreement, a disorderly exit with no agreement would open the field to a host of negative consequences across the real economy and financial markets.

Palacin noted that although “uncertainties have been dispelled, there is still a significant degree of things that are not known regarding the future of the relationship between the UK and the European Union so by the end of the month in principle, when the withdrawal will be complete, but future reconciliations and the pace of these negotiations, are still a question mark.”

With the modalities of the exit unclear and no indications as to the nature and structure of the legal and economic relations of the United Kingdom with the European Union and the rest of the world after the exit, corporate investment decisions are already facing tremendous policy uncertainty.

Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD also noted the growing concerns that overburdened monetary policies have proven insufficient to stimulate investment.

He said, “this heavy reliance on monetary policy, the heavy reliance on robust stockmarkets and rising asset prices does not translate into a balanced world economy- balance between countries, and balance within countries”.

He stressed that to deliver healthy and inclusive growth and a higher standard of living for all, a more balanced policy mix is called for, including structural shifts in the design of fiscal policy, carefully integrated with labour market initiatives, business and financial regulation, social protection systems and targeted investment incentives.

As investors continue to underestimate climate-risks, many governments and investors are exposed to sudden losses while creating substantial setbacks to environmental targets. Kozul-Wright posed the question of how this looked for the European economy.

He asked, “are we optimistic or pessimistic?” while acknowledging that” Europeans have now just come up with a new green deal for Europe which is an attempt to rebalance the European economy at least making a gesture towards some of these policy measures.”

The only way to break the link between greenhouse gas emissions and economic activity is to change the energy mix, the report states. Arresting global warming will require firm political will and the full strength of all available policy instruments to enhance energy efficiency, develop required infrastructure and technology and promote essential behavioural changes. “Financing it”, he admitted, “is still not sufficient, but it is a move in the right direction.”

The WESP is the United Nations' flagship publication on expected trends in the global economy, produced annually by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five UN regional commissions.
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