Kovid-19 epidemic widening economic gap between southern and northern Europe

By Mary Charell

Posted today at 04:42, updated at 04:44

It is a symbol of Italian luxury. The “Golden Quadrilateral” at the center of the capital of Milan, fashion and design, focuses the aesthetics of high-end jewelry shops, boutiques made in Italy And big names in chic – Gucci, Prada, Versace. “Our customers are international tourists or business travelers, their average ticket in our shops is more than 2,000 euros”, Guglimo Miani, president of the Montanapolean District, claims the association, which brings together 150 brands in the district. But since the onset of the epidemic, the streets of the quadrangle have been virtually deserted, with the exception of summer rebound. According to the Deloitte firm, between 2019 and 2020 the number of viewers passing through it fell from 8 to 3.4 million. And Chinese tourists have disappeared. “This is a big loss for Milan”, Laments Mr. Mian. He runs the clothing brand Larusmiani founded in 1922 by his grandfather. “Large groups make up for this with online sales, but for small family groups like mine, where everything is handmade, it is a bit more difficult. “

Disaster stricken tourism south

Elgarve in the south of Portugal. In 2020, regional tourism recorded its worst year in history, with overnight stays dropping to 8.7 million compared to 24 million in 2019. “I have a feeling to overcome the 2008 crisis”, Miguel Costa, 38, says a restaurant in the area has a cook. At that time, he chose to reside in the United Kingdom, while the Portuguese economy reclaimed. He returned in 2015, when tourism to his country ceased. “Today, I am thinking about leaving. The toughest end of the month is too much. “


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Italy, Portugal, but also Spain, Greece, Malta, Cyprus: South of the euro zone, very dependent on tourism, epidemic and above all, travel restrictions are linked to health measures. “Kovid-19 will spoil the differences that already exist between the south and the north of the euro zone, it is very important”, Patrick Artus, Economist in Natics.

Although they are also affected, countries such as Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, Finland reported less severe recession in 2020. Because their economies depend less on international tourism. But also because they entered a crisis with a lot of healthy public finances, allowing them to deploy more ambitious emergency and recovery plans than the South – more than 8% of Germany’s gross domestic product (GDP). 4.3% in Spain and 3.4% in Italy, compared to 5% in France.

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