The evils are known: economic growth under pressure and negative inflation that is beginning to confuse Europe with Japan.
The culprit too: a virus that resurfaces with force, making the word confinement return to the vocabulary.
The remedies are less obvious: the European Central Bank announced this Thursday that it will not move a tab for now.
That means that interest rates remain as they are, at 0%, also the negative deposit rate of 0.5% that it charges banks, and the 1.35 trillion euro bond acquisition package will remain intact. .
On the horizon, however, he makes it clear that there will be fresh artillery at his end-of-year meeting.
"The Governing Council will recalibrate its instruments, as appropriate, to respond to the current situation and ensure that financing conditions continue to be favorable to support the economic recovery and counteract the negative impact of the pandemic on projected inflation," said the president of the entity, Christine Lagarde.
The rules for exiting the crisis seem clear.
Governments raise their spending to unprecedented levels and the European Central Bank lowers the interest they pay.
The deployment, together with the relaxation of the confinements in summer, will allow this Friday a historical advance of the gross domestic product in the euro zone.
But the life of the rebound, as the body warns, seems doomed to be short.
Lagarde has advanced that the indicators have been losing strength since September, especially in the services sector, and November is going to be especially bad given the return of the restrictions.
A whole string of economic predictions, including the 3.1% growth expected by the ECB for the fourth quarter in the euro zone, will be irretrievably buried, with GDP risking going into the red.
"Will it be negative?
We cannot say at this time, "Lagarde said, avoiding hasty forecasts.
Investors who expected a surprise announcement in line with the growing sense of emergency that is gripping Europe have seen their expectations disappointed, but the market was already anticipating that today would not be the day of the great display of force.
First, the bank will entrust its experts to draw lessons on how to act.
"The new round of macroeconomic projections prepared by Eurosystem experts in December will allow a comprehensive reassessment of the economic outlook and the balance of risks," said the President of the ECB, who wants to wait to see if the containment measures implemented by Germany , France or Spain work.
The analysis until the December meeting will include the progress of the pandemic and the prospect of the launch of the long-awaited vaccine.
Given the magnitude of the challenge, with the risks "clearly on the downside", Lagarde has advanced that the bank's action will not be limited to a single instrument, it is about "recalibrating them all."
The message anticipates a strong response, and it was enough to alleviate the losses of the main European stock indices.
Among the objectives of the new stimuli will be that credit does not dry up and continues to flow to companies and citizens at a time when liquidity can make the difference between lowering the blind or not for thousands of businesses.
Inflation does not lift its head either, and is still far from the traditional target “below but close to 2%.” It entered negative territory in August (-0.2%) and deepened in September (-0.3%). October is not expected to return to positive territory. The bank attributes this collapse to the collapse in the price of energy or the aggressive discount policy of the tourism sector to attract customers in a context of clear decline, but estimates that in 2021 demand will gain traction and change the trend. "It will not be forever," said Lagarde.
As countries do their part on the fiscal flank, borrowing to unheard of levels, the Frankfurt-based institution sharpens its tools.
"The ECB was there in the first wave and it will be in the second," he concluded in a contemporary and pandemic version of the famous "whatever it takes" ["we will do whatever it takes"] pronounced by Mario Draghi.
In her supposedly close style, Lagarde ended her speech by transferring her affection to all those who have suffered firsthand the suffering from covid-19.
"Because we talk about it as if it were something external, but it has an impact on people."