BRUSSELS, 19 Jan – PRIME The European Commission does not rule out a significant increase in non-performing loans (NPL) in EU banks amid problems in the region’s economy due to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, said EC Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis at a press conference. European banks are forced to unite to survive He noted, that Europe is experiencing an “economic shock” but has not yet faced a sharp rise in delinquency. The NPL level in the banks of the union at the end of the first half of 2020 was 2.8% against 2.6% at the end of 2019. “However, we cannot rule out a significant increase in non-performing loans in banks,” said the EC. EU representative, it is necessary to work with this issue, since banks must retain the ability to lend to the economy and thereby support its recovery from the crisis, Dombrovskis added. The European Commission in December last year proposed to develop a secondary market for distressed banking assets in the European Union in order to avoid further difficulties in the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The EU economy plunged into the most serious economic crisis since the Second World War this spring due to restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. As countries began to emerge from lockdowns, the economy began to recover. However, in the fall, amid the intensification of the virus, the authorities again began to tighten restrictions in the EU.