Europe will need fiscal help into 2022: Lagarde

FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde gestures as she addresses a news conference on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council, in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Euro zone states must keep fiscal spending up this year and into 2022 to protect the bloc from permanent damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said in an online interview with the Economist on Wednesday.

Lagarde also called on European Union leaders to kick start the bloc’s 750 billion euro Next Generation EU spending package as some economic restrictions could remain in place until the second half of the year.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Catherine Evans