The unexpected health crisis that has hit the world a couple of months ago has brought us in an economic recession, which is likely to last and morph into an economic and financial crisis and has caused huge societal distress. What is more, the challenges facing our societies even prior to the Covid-19-crisis, such as climate change, and social, labour market and economic inequalities, have not disappeared, on the contrary – they have become more visible or have been aggravated by the public health measures and the deteriorated economic situation. More people have come to understand the importance of the so-called ‘essential’ workers, of social insurance systems, public services, trade unions, of solidarity and of anticipating risks. The challenges facing the European Union member states are immense and national efforts to address them alone are bound to lead to economic and social divergence with potentially grave political consequences, especially for the European integration project. In that sense, coming up with a Recovery Plan which reaffirms European solidarity and which not only tackles the immediate needs but also boosts the green transition in a socially just way is of existential importance for the EU. How can we then assess the Recovery Plan announced on 27 May? Does it propose adequate tools and resources for addressing the challenges lying ahead and why? What are the chances that it gets approved and what are the likely compromises that will be required to take it forward?
The unprecedented global health crisis will not only have a vast human and economic cost, it will also reshuffle deeply our societies. It is argued that nothing will be the same again after Covid-19. But what different options are there for the way forward? Which of these options will reinforce the actors and instruments which can keep our societies together in the event a new crisis hits us? How should a post-corona society that is more egalitarian, resilient and sustainable look like? Will the EU survive in its current construction and what are the factors that can influence that? Do we need more international cooperation or will the nationalistic impulse which became apparent during this crisis continue to be the guiding factor?
The European Trade Union Institute and FEPS have joined forces in this double webinar to try to find answers to these and other crucial questions. The first session will focus on the assessment of the recovery plans of the European Commission while the second should lay out and discuss the possible scenarios for a post Covid society.
12.00 Assessing the Recovery Plan for Europe
Paul Magnette, President, Parti Socialiste
Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne and Paris School of Economics
Peter Bofinger, University of Wuerzburg
Moderation: Sotiria Theodoropoulou, ETUI
13.00 Scenarios for a post-covid society
Lodewijk Asscher, PvdA Party Leader
Philippe Pochet, General Director, ETUI
Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe
Moderation: László Andor, FEPS