Brussels - The eurozone economy will plunge 8.7 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis, the European Commission said in more pessimistic forecasts that do not see a complete rebound next year.
The new forecasts see the eurozone economy bouncing back by 6.1 percent in 2021, still leaving the region worse off than before the countries were forced to implement lockdowns in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.
"The economic impact of the lockdown is more severe than we initially expected," Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said Tuesday in a statement accompanying the release of the updated forecasts.
"Looking forward to this year and next, we can expect a rebound but we will need to be vigilant about the differing pace of the recovery," he added.
Germany, the EU's biggest economy, is expected to see a 6.3 percent contraction this year and 5.3 percent growth in 2021.
The economies of France, Italy and Spain will each contract by more than 10 percent, and then partially recover.
GDP forecasts for the EU, eurozone and selected countries
France, the eurozone's second-largest economy, is expected to contract by 10.6 percent this year and grow by 7.6 percent in 2021.
Italy, which should suffer a 11.2-percent drop this year, is only forecast to rebound by 6.1 percent in 2021.
Spain's economy is seen as contracting by 10.9 percent before bouncing back by 7.1 percent.
"The policy response across Europe has helped to cushion the blow for our citizens, yet this remains a story of increasing divergence, inequality and insecurity," said the EU's economy commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni.
"This is why it is so important to reach a swift agreement on the recovery plan proposed by the Commission –- to inject both new confidence and new financing into our economies at this critical time," he added.