How the cost-of-living crisis impacts political trust among the most vulnerable
Residence Palace, meeting room Maelbeek


In about a year, the EU will be heading to elections following a European Commission and European Parliament term marked by public health, climate, energy and cost-of-living crises which have impacted disproportionately those on lower incomes. Improving the resilience of our societies to the causes and consequences of these crises remains a formidable challenge for the coming decades and the critical stake for these elections. Significant reforms in a number of policy areas are currently being debated. But how far do EU citizens trust political actors and institutions such as the European and national parliaments in the context of these crises? Has political trust been varying between and within EU member states and if so, how and why?  

In this policy workshop, the Hertie School Jacques Delors Centre and the ETUI combine insights on the unequal impact of recent crises on different groups in society with the findings of a research project on EU citizens’ trust to political institutions and their perceptions of societal and political cohesion. The workshop will investigate which direction EU and national policies should take in order to avoid a political trust gap between the have’s and the have-not’s and it will also sketch the threat this would pose for societal and political cohesion in Europe.




13:00 – 13:45  Light lunch

 13:45 – 14:00 Welcome and introduction  

14:00 – 15:30 Session 1: Unequal crises,  and the political trust gap 

The first session will discuss the unequal way in which the recent crises (or the polycrisis) have been impacting more vulnerable parts of the EU population and the link between, on the one hand, economic and political divergences across socioeconomic groups and, on the other hand, the threat of a potentially widening “trust gap” between higher and lower social strata for social cohesion in the EU.  How could such a trust gap impact next year’s EU elections and the effective tackling of the challenges facing Europe?

Presentation of the main findings of the “Cohesion in Europe - Perception and Fields of Action” (PerzepEU) project: Jannik Jansen, Policy Fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre Download here the slides

Panel discussion:

  • Daphne Halikiopoulou, Chair of comparative politics-university of York Download here the slides
  • Daphne Ahrendt, Senior Research Manager at Eurofound
  • Johanna Lutz, Head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Regional Office on Democracy in the OSCE region, Vienna Download here the slides

Moderator: Sotiria Theodoropoulou, Head of Unit II “European economic, employment and social policies”, ETUI

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break 

16:00 – 17:30 

Session 2: What policies could mitigate the political trust gap between the haves and the have-nots?

The second session will turn into the policy implications of the previous discussion in the run-up to the forthcoming EU elections. Currently, reforms and debates in a number of policy areas with important distributional impacts are under way. If a widening trust gap is likely to undermine societal and political cohesion, what direction should policies take to avert this?

Panel discussion:

  • Anke Hassel, Professor of Public Policy at the Hertie School
  • Patricia Velicu, Head of Collective Bargaining & Social Policy Coordination IndustriAll
  • Torsten Müller, Senior researcher ETUI
  • Hilmi Tekoglu, Just Transition Policy Officer SOLIDAR

Moderator: Bianca Luna Fabris, Researcher ETUI