- Title: Italy, Portugal warn coronavirus threatens EU-wide economic recovery
- Date: 7th July 2020
- Summary: LISBON, PORTUGAL (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) CAR CARRYING ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER GIUSEPPE CONTE ARRIVING PORTUGUESE PRIME MINISTER ANTONIO COSTA WAITING FOR CONTE AT DOOR OF BUILDING CONTE GETTING OUT OF CAR/ THE TWO MEN GREETING EACH OTHER AND TOUCHING ELBOWS/ GOING UP STAIRS CONTE AND COSTA TAKING OFF MASKS / POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS EUROPEAN UNION, PORTUGAL AND ITALIAN FLAGS CONTE AND COSTA WAVING AT JOURNALISTS/ ENTERING OFFICIAL RESIDENCE CONTE AND COSTA ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER, GIUSEPPE CONTE, SAYING (APPROXIMATE TRANSLATION): "What we need now is not only economic recovery in our countries but in the whole of Europe, there will not be winners or losers, individual winners or individual losers, we will win or lose all together. This is an unprecedented crisis and so since the first moment of the emergency we have shared the need for a common and strong answer, solid, coordinated and at a European level. The sanitary crisis will soon become an economic and social crisis, and so national revenue can never be enough." NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER, GIUSEPPE CONTE, SAYING (APPROXIMATE TRANSLATION): "We hope that the next European Council meeting, on July 17th-18th, will perhaps be the decisive one and we will fight for it, the outlook (European economic forecast) that Prime Minister Antonio Costa was referring to are very negative, we don't have a lot of time, we must have the courage to act quickly and it's not possible to think that we can close this negotiation at the minimum end, of low profile with an agreement of 27." PHOTOGRAPHER AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) PORTUGUESE PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIO COSTA, SAYING: "We have maintained permanent contact with the United Kingdom. Today the foreign minister had a long conversations with his counterpart. We are working. It is very important we build a confident relationship which allows safe trips." END OF NEWS CONFERENCE/ CONTE, COSTA LEAVING VARIOUS OF CONTE AND COSTA DURING MEETING
- Embargoed: 21st July 2020 21:38
- Keywords: Antonio Costa COVID-19 Giuseppe Conte Italian prime minister Italy Portugal Portuguse Prime Minister coronavirus
- Location: LISBON, PORTUGAL
- City: LISBON, PORTUGAL
- Country: Portugal
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLTB1AF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said European Union member states were running out of time to counter new forecasts that the euro zone economy will drop deeper into recession this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying countries needed the courage to act now.
The European Commission forecast on Tuesday (July 7), that the euro zone would rebound less steeply in 2021 than previously thought, with France, Italy and Spain struggling the most.
The EU executive said the 19-nation single currency area would contract by a record 8.7% this year before growing by 6.1% in 2021. In early May, the Commission had forecast a 2020 downturn of 7.7% and a 2021 rebound of 6.3%.
Speaking after meeting his Portuguese counterpart, Antonio Costa in Lisbon, Conte said the coronavirus pandemic was an "unprecedented crisis" that threatened to become "an economic and social crisis" if the member states failed to support each other.
On July 17th, EU leaders will meet to discuss a coordinated approach to fighting the pandemic.
Costa told reporters that talks between Portuguese and British authorities are under way ahead of the UK's reevaluation of its decision to keep Portugal off its list for coronavirus restriction-free travel.
"The foreign minister had a long conversation with his counterpart," Costa told a news conference. "It is very important we build a confident relationship."
Last week Portugal was left off a list of more than 50 countries that Britain considers safe enough for travel without coronavirus-related restrictions, meaning holidaymakers returning from Portugal would have to quarantine for 14 days.
British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Monday (July 6) the decision will be reviewed by July 27.
The exclusion will be a major deterrent for British tourists, who accounted for 2.1 million of Portugal's foreign visitors last year, and is set to hurt the country's tourism-dependent economy, especially the southern Algarve region.
Over a dozen countries have imposed restrictions on travel from Portugal as a doggedly high toll of several hundred new cases per day concentrated on the outskirts of Lisbon in the past month has worried authorities.
Portugal has only reported 1,629 fatalities, which it attributes to its high testing rate, though Britain has surpassed the country in terms of tests per million people, according to the worldometer.info website.
(Production: Miguel Pereira, Helena Williams, Martin Veal)
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