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Mediterranean: the consequences of the crisis


On March 5th Mediterranean Economies 2020 will be presented in Naples, the international version of the Report on Mediterranean Economies edited by the Cnr Institute for Mediterranean Studies, published by il Mulino. The book focuses on the weakest economies and development factors in the area in view of the constraints imposed by the pandemic. Speakers include economists Giovanni Tria and Claudio De Vincenti and Gilberto Corbellini, director of the Cnr Human Sciences Department. The report will be presented in remote mode with live broadcasting on the Facebook page Ismed  Diretta Facebook @CNR.ISMed

The geopolitical, social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Mediterranean area are the focus of Mediterranean Economies 2020 (ME20), the international edition of the Report on Mediterranean Economies (REM) edited by the Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean of the National Research Council (Cnr-Ismed). The Report is being presented on March 5th in Naples, in remote mode with live streaming on the Ismed Facebook page Diretta Facebook @CNR.ISMed. The event includes Giovanni Tria, professor of economics at the University of Tor Vergata, Claudio De Vincenti, professor of economics at the University of Rome Sapienza, and Gilberto Corbellini, director of the Department of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage of the Cnr.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made us rethink our original focus and this first edition of Mediterranean Economies focuses mainly on the impact of the pandemic on Mediterranean economies,” explains Giovanni Canitano, one of the editors of the Report. “Indeed, the pandemic has confirmed that mobility and international trade are crucial to sustaining growth in many countries, particularly in small open economies. In this sense, Mediterranean economies have shown themselves to be particularly vulnerable to restrictions on international trade and the movement of capital and people, and a long-term crisis risks having serious economic, social and political consequences, with destabilising effects in the weakest areas,” adds Salvatore Capasso, editor of the volume and director of Cnr-Ismed.

“The recession that will follow the lockdown will be deep: the IMF estimates that the global economy will shrink by around 3% in 2020, worse than that which followed the 2008-09 financial crisis. Moreover, this crisis, unlike previous ones, is truly global, so world activity cannot count on the vital support of any unaffected area,” Capasso continues. “A key feature of this economic crisis is the pronounced asymmetry. Some sectors such as electronics are marginally affected, or even benefit from the pandemic; others are almost completely inactive, such as tourism. And the asymmetry also affects countries, due to the different spread of the virus and the different weight of exposed sectors. Already fragile economies, particularly dependent on external demand and tourism, will suffer more from the effects of the recession. Massive government interventions have fortunately cushioned the economic impact of the pandemic, but public deficits have risen sharply and this will put a strain on countries with high debt exposure.”

The sharp fall in global demand, tourism and international trade will have a particularly pronounced effect on smaller economies that are more dependent on exposed sectors. “IMF data indicate that the contraction of economic activity in the Mediterranean area will be about 8.35%. The estimated contraction of Italy's gross domestic product in 2020 is 10.5%, a decline that will only be recovered in 2025. A similar situation applies to other countries on the northern shores (Spain, Portugal and Greece) which, however, according to IMF forecasts, will enjoy a more vigorous recovery as early as 2021,” concludes the director of Cnr-Ismed. “Unemployment rates in 2020 will rise everywhere and in Spain and Greece they will exceed 20%, in Italy they are expected to remain around 11.8% also in 2021. Across the Mediterranean region, savings rates fell significantly in 2020, indicating that consumption is at levels that are difficult to cut. As a result of government support measures, public debt in all countries in the basin has increased significantly. In Italy, between 2019 and 2020, the debt-to-GDP ratio rose from 126% to 149% and is expected to fall slightly from this year onwards.”

The sharp fall in global demand, tourism and international trade will have a particularly strong effect on small economies that are more dependent on exposed sectors. Human mobility has undoubtedly influenced the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Desirée Quagliarotti analyses the link between planetary boundaries and emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in the Mediterranean region. “In recent decades, the frequency of global epidemics has increased significantly. In the first two decades of the 21st century alone, the world has witnessed a series of lethal epidemics of severe acute respiratory syndromes: Zika virus, Ebola, yellow fever and SARS CoV-2. The combined effects of health and economic consequences are straining many developing countries and inequalities are increasing at all levels, putting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at risk,” she warns. “There is an emerging need for an integrated approach to public health that recognises the complex interactions between biological, behavioural, environmental, social and developmental factors.”

“The implementation of new mobility systems is a challenge for policy makers who aim to ensure both the efficiency of urban and metropolitan systems and greater sustainability in the expansion of transport services,” say Rosaria Battarra and Giuseppe Mazzeo, Cnr-Ismed researchers. “Since the territorial and environmental load and climate change are closely related, it becomes a necessity to control and innovate the functional management of metropolitan systems (mobility, housing, production, tourism and so on), thanks also to smart city methodologies and technologies and the development of mobility systems.” A study on urban accessibility designed in response to demographic changes in urban areas is the subject of the research included in the Report and carried out by Gerardo Carpentieri, Carmela Gargiulo and Carmen Guida, who assess the accessibility of public transport services for the elderly. 





Per informazioni:
Salvatore Capasso
director of Cnr-Ismed
tel. +39/081/6134086 (int. 237)
Giovanni Canitano, Cnr-Ismed, email:

Ufficio stampa:
Cecilia Migali
Cnr Press Office

Responsabile Unità Ufficio stampa:
Marco Ferrazzoli
06 4993 3383

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