LUXEMBOURG - The European economy is set to suffer a sharp slowdown due to the war in Ukraine, but should avoid stumbling into recession, top EU officials said on Monday.
"Our current assessment is that the implications of the war in Ukraine will (bring)... a substantial slowdown of economic growth in the EU but not a recession," EU executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters as he arrived for talks with eurozone ministers.
In February, just before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU executive had forecast that the 19-nation eurozone would grow by a strong four percent as a dynamic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
The war in Ukraine -- which has seen the cost of living skyrocket -- will no doubt downgrade that forecast when new projections are released on May 16, officials said.
"Of course there are risks, but there is also plenty of energy in our economies to keep a reduced, very much reduced level of growth," said EU commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, who handles economic affairs.
The former Italian prime minister said that isolating Russia economically would have a cost for the EU, but that "we're ready to do this".
"This is not (an act of) war, but... we have to pay some price," he said.
The war in Ukraine has already caused inflation in the eurozone to soar to a record 7.5 percent year-on-year in March and consumer confidence to plummet.
Talk of a gas supply cut from Russia, which provided the EU with about 40 percent of its gas needs in 2021, has also jarred analysts and rocked the markets.
Dombrovskis said the bloc could weather any aftershocks if it came to that.
A cut in the gas flowing from Russia is "not without problems, but it's possible to cope with a situation like this," he added.