EU hopeful for firm economic growth despite virus challenges

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission is cautiously optimistic that European economies will see good growth this year and next despite deep uncertainty about when the coronavirus might be contained. Fast-spreading new variants and a lack of clarity about the vaccine rollout make predictions complicated. Still, the EU’s executive arm forecast Thursday that growth in the 19 nations using the single currency should reach 3.8% this year and next after a 6.8% drop in 2020. Growth in the full 27-nation EU is predicted to hit 3.7% in 2021 and 3.9% next year. Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni says that while challenges remain “there is, at last, light at the end of the tunnel.”