The President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, gesticulates at a press conference on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council on March 12, 2020 in Frankfurt.

Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

LONDON – European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde hopes 2021 will continue to be the year of post-pandemic economic recovery despite tough lockdowns and concerns about new Covid-19 variants.

“We hope that 2021 is still the year of recovery, but in two phases and phase one it is clearly still fraught with very high levels of uncertainty,” said Lagarde at a panel moderated by CNBC at the Davos Agenda Summit on Monday.

The euro zone is grappling with rising coronavirus cases, tight social restrictions and a slow adoption of vaccines. This creates further economic problems for the region, which is estimated to have shrunk by more than 7% in 2020.

According to Lagarde, in the current economic environment, “it is still about crossing that bridge to recovery, but where the journey appears to be a little delayed but should not be derailed”.

The latest economic data from the ECB point to a decline in the final quarter of 2020, which, according to Lagarde, “will have an impact on the first quarter of 2021”.

Even if the European region reaches a point where its economies can fully open up again, there will be more challenges to ensure solid economic growth. “It’s not the same economy we’re talking about,” added Lagarde.