Shockwaves Spread as Europe’s Economy Reels at Energy Fallout  

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Two weeks since Russia began Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II, businesses across the continent are already in varying stages of despair at the consequences on livelihoods. A crisis of human suffering in Ukraine, whose wider economic impact prompted European Central Bank officials to quicken their withdrawal from stimulus this week, is affecting prosperity from the farmlands of Spain to the euro zone’s manufacturing core in Germany and France. Surging energy costs are the central complaint, though disrupted supply chains, sanctions and worries about a looming demand drop are also weighing on enterprises. The abrupt shock of war nearby, combined with broad effects and an uncertain duration, will pile pressure on governments to cushion the blow as well as testing their resolve to confront Russia. “I don’t know what to do if the war in Ukraine continues for much longer,” Spanish pig farmer Lorenzo Rivera said in an interview this week. “I either have to halt production — or close business for good.” Rivera, whose 200 sows outnumber people in Peleas de Arriba, the settlement in northern Spain where he lives, has endured cost increases for a while — first electricity, then fuel, and then animal feed. It was all manageable until war broke out on the other side of the continent.

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