The emergence of the Omicron variant in late November last year, followed by a rapid surge in infections, has raised serious doubts over the speed of Europe’s economic recovery over the next 12-18 months.
Having enjoyed a 5.8% rebound in domestic demand in 2021, the growth forecast for Central Europe this year is a more modest 4.7%, falling to 3.7% in 2023. These are World Bank figures, taken from the organisation’s latest Global Economic Prospects report published in early January. Growth forecasts for Eastern Europe in the near-term are even more severe, projected to fall from 3.1% in 2021 to 1.4% this year before rallying to reach 3.2% in 2023.
Set against this downbeat reading of Europe’s economic potential in general, a more optimistic case could almost certainly be made concerning current growth prospects in relation to European bioenergy, but only if the right policy framework is put in place by politicians and EU officials.