It is still too early to assess the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the European Union economy, the bloc's economics commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday, adding that the bloc's fiscal rules allow for more spending in emergencies.
The epidemic, which first emerged in China, flared up in northern Italy last week, increasing fears of a larger-than-expected fallout on the European and global economy.
"An assessment and a serious forecast is not yet possible," Gentiloni told a news conference in Brussels, acknowledging that there had already been "a partial materialization" of the downside risks posed by the epidemic.
He added that more government spending to counter the worst economic effects of emergencies was possible under EU fiscal rules. The conditions for countries to use that leeway will be assessed over the coming months, he said.