As virus restrictions bite, EU extends safety net till 2023

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is set to extend for around two more years the safety net it put in place to help Europe’s economies survive the impact of restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. The EU’s executive Commission said Wednesday that the “general escape clause” should remain in place next year, and be lifted some time in 2023. In a sign of just how precarious things are, Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis says “our clear message is that fiscal support should continue as long as needed.” The Commission estimates that fiscal support worth around 8% of GDP was provided in 2020 after countries began locking down in panic.