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IMF Chief: Harsh Winter May Spark Social Unrest In EU Amid Energy Crisis

IMF Chief: Harsh Winter May Spark Social Unrest In EU Amid Energy Crisis

A number of countries in Europe may experience social unrest if the upcoming winter is harsh amid an economic crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Wednesday.

“There is certainly fear of recession in some countries, or even if it is not recession, that it would feel like recession this winter,” said Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF.

“And if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate, and the winter is actually harsh, that could lead to some social unrest,” she added.

Attending the 2022 “Michel Camdessus Central Banking Lecture” held in Washington, D.C., Georgieva pointed out that Europe is directly affected by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, saying the war has led to “horrible” economic consequences and added fuel to fears of recession in some countries.

Georgieva said the current situation meant that the European Central Bank needed to be “mindful of the necessity to keep the economy going,” while also remaining persistent in fighting broad-based inflation.

“Inflation is stubborn, it is more broad-based than we thought it would be,” Georgieva said. “And what it means is … we need central bankers to be as stubborn in fighting it as inflation has demonstrably been.”

Second-Order Effects

Georgieva noted at the event that the global economy had two consecutive shocks, the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which contributed to surging prices and a cost-of-living crisis.

The disruptions in the flows of Russian gas to Europe remain the primary cause of Europe’s current energy crisis. The continent has relied upon cheap Russian energy for years to power factories, generate electricity, and heat homes.

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