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The conference organised at the beginning of February 2021 by ETUI-ETUC constituted a focal point for its future activities. The aim of this event was to promote the ETUI as an open platform for discussing the social issues involved in the ecological and climate transition. Moreover, it was intended to be a key moment in the redefinition of social issues in the current transition. The ETUI's goal is to work on three levels: to provide basic, broad-based information and training, to build new communities and to redefine the future economic and societal model.

The first level involves sharing and disseminating basic information, backed up by newsletters and many specific training courses (but also having the climate and environmental dimension included in courses covering other social topics). Though the issues associated with the climate transition are undoubtedly not at the top of union agendas, it is becoming crucial to have new players equipped to understand and debate these issues. In other words, to get involved in defining the issues and not just in managing their consequences.

The second stage is knowledge cross-fertilisation. This transition requires us to quit the seclusion of university walls, not just to build bridges but also to come up with new forms of thinking, as seen in the two networks we are developing:  the first is organising a dialogue between labour legislation and environmental legislation. How can these two separate spheres become interlinked?  The second involves bringing together social protection specialists and climate change experts to come up with answers to new questions, for example on the sustainability of pensions in an economy without or with very little growth; or on the health impact – and the way we should conceive it – of a world with less pollution. In this same context, we are starting dialogues with organisations from various horizons, such as the Climate Foundation or the European Environmental Agency.

The third level involves the dominant paradigm. The two crises in 2008 and 2020 have shaken up everything previously considered certain, opening up room for reflecting on a radically different approach. Work here is still ongoing, and though there are already a few plans on the drawing board, the overall final vision is still in the making. This is how we will create spaces to bring together the issues at stake and ideas for the future.

While it is important to develop players, networks and ideas, we need to add the practical work on the ground and the more concrete aspects. This involves, for example, monitoring the changes at work in key sectors of the economy such as the automotive and energy-intensive sectors, but also redefining the threats and opportunities linked to investments around the financial (and perhaps social) taxonomy, the geographic challenges of production and technological relocations, the role of social and environmental issues in the ' 'EU's "open strategic autonomy" or even the sustainability dimension of recovery plans.

The ETUI wants to position itself as a key player in the dynamics and interaction between the often-chaotic transition-related developments and the development of new ideas, providing a forum for players to think up and construct a more resilient and inclusive future.

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