Before providing an overview of our activities in 2021, I would like to mention the geopolitical crisis that is affecting Europe following the attack on Ukraine on 24 February 2022. This war on the European continent has upset a strategic balance and put the West, and the European Union (EU) in particular, to the test. The reaction of the EU’s twenty‑seven member states, which unanimously condemned this aggression and adopted a series of economic and financial sanctions, puts defence issues at the heart of the EU’s challenges and seals the foundation of democratic values upon which Europe is built.
At BNP Paribas, we are particularly attentive to this human tragedy and its devastating consequences. The Group mobilised quickly to ensure the safety of the 5,000 employees and their families of its subsidiary UKRSIBBANK, and to provide the population and economy of Ukraine with critical banking services to the extent possible. We also expressed our full solidarity by supporting several partner charities and organisations and by activating the BNP Paribas Foundation’s Rescue & Recover Fund.
The economic impact of this conflict is consequential. Energy prices, which have been under pressure for several months, have risen sharply, as have the prices of certain commodities such as wheat and various metals. Likewise, international trade with Russia is largely affected following the sanctions imposed by the international community. Inflation, which is already high, will probably continue to increase and affect essential goods such as food. It is safe to assume that the situation will have a negative impact on GDP, the magnitude of which will depend on the course of events in the coming months*. This could lead to the return of stagflation(1) and an increase in unemployment.