European Union nations continue to grapple with a health emergency but what follows might well be a social crisis, the likes of which has never been witnessed before. That was the warning made by experts who took part in the Brussels Economic Forum, the 27-nation bloc's annual flagship economy conference.
Those who were already struggling the most in the EU have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, the event was told.
Massive economic uncertainty surrounds the EU, not only because of COVID-19, but also because it is looking increasingly likely that the UK will walk away from the bloc without an all important trade deal. A new social crisis could rip the bloc apart by fueling anti-EU politics, according to experts.
In July EU leaders agreed on a €750bn COVID-19 recovery fund. Unless the money is invested correctly it will not have the desired effect of stimulating growth, the Brussels Economic Forum heard.
The vast majority of economists have been expressing similar sentiments, that unless political leaders take decisive action to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and Brexit, the bloc is on a trajectory that will end in disaster for the EU project.