Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is confident the euro zone’s recovery can be sustained into next year even if the Omicron coronavirus variant requires new public health measures, he told the Reuters Next conference today.
Mr Donohoe is also the head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers.
Paschal Donohoe said his confidence was based on how economies have increasingly demonstrated their ability to limit the damage of restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
He also said the EU’s huge COVID-19 recovery fund would make “a very big injection” into the bloc next year to further guard against the risks that are now developing.
“It is very early days in terms of the health impact of this new variant on all of us. I am confident about our ability to sustain a strong recovery into next year,” Mr Donohoe said today.
“I hope we can avoid those broad health measures again. I am equally confident that we will be able to allow consumption and investment to take place along side them were they to happen,” he said.
The Finance Minister Donohoe cautioned that he would need to see whether the new variant – the first case of which was confirmed here today – will impact economic activity in any way and what level of economic support would be needed across December and into the early part of next year.
He nevertheless said Covid-19 transmission had been stabilising in Ireland over the last few days, albeit at a high level.
“The governments here in Ireland and across the European Union will be responsive and we will be agile in responding back to what could happen with public health measures,” Mr Donohoe said.
“We’ve demonstrated over the last 18 months our ability to put in place measures that have worked, have saved jobs. We’ll do it again,” he added.