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The European Union enters into a post-pandemic recovery phase more integrated economically, and with a clear commitment to rethink its growth model. New geopolitical risks are a reality and deep social divides are threatening the cohesion of our societies and our democratic institutions. In the global context, a new multilateralism offers the opportunity to rethink the global governance and re-target it on the wide-spread well-being of people.

Trade unions believe that, in the aftermath of the pandemic crisis, the world should spring toward a new pattern of development ‘beyond GDP’ and for a new social contract that will bring together all components of society and the economy in a common effort towards a sustainable and job-rich recovery.  Social progress would in fact result in all people being better off.

The ongoing Reform of the economic governance would be an opportunity for the EU to set its economic and social model on the track of sustainability. However, the proposed reform revisit certain aspects of the Stability and Growth Pact and is unclear how much social and environmental objectives will influence future decisions of the EU and its member states when coordinating the fiscal, economic, social and environmental policies.

2023 edition of RETHINKING tries to set in a single framework environmental sustainability, monetary policies, economic governance and social convergence tools in order to reimagine our development model. RETHINKING will read the sustainability agenda in the light of the new geopolitical context and will try to understand how much the UN2030 Agenda can still provide a worldwide consensus-based approach to sustainability. RETHINKING will then  link up with the role of monetary and macroecomomic policies in shaping global stability and supporting green and labour transitions. RETHINKING will so transfer these arguments in the reform of the Stability and Growth pact. The objective is to understand if the reformed Stability and Growth Pact will respond to the actual need of European people and will then analyse what workers can expect from these new setting of the economic governance. Finally, RETHINKING will try to understand if such approach can lead to social progress either in the development of public services and European common goods and will be able to activate an upward social convergence of working and living conditions through the European Semester.


  1. SESSION 1: HALFWAY TO 2030: A TRADE UNION TAKE ON THE EU AND THE SDGS (in particular chapter 2)
  2. SESSION 2: Central Banking and Inequality – Taking Off the Blinders; Banques centrales et inégalités économiques
  3. SESSION 3: Eurogroup statement on the euro area fiscal stance for 2024
  4. SESSION 4: European public goods, social rights and the foundational economy approach
  5. SESSION 5: Introduction of a Social Convergence Framework in the European Semester. (Report of the joint EMCO-SPC Working Group)
  6. ETUC advocacy papers from the task force on the economic governance reform


Marco Cilento – Economic and social overview here
Katia Berti – Social Convergence Framework here 
Clément Fontan – Can monetary policy be progressive?
Stefano Fassina here
Julie Froud and Angelo Salento – Developing public services, EU infrastructures and European public goods here



7th September 2023

9.30 – 10.00 – Opening ceremony. Ludo Voet (Confederal Secretary, ETUC) and Fabio Pollice (Rector of University of Salento)

Setting the scene: objectives and agenda. Marco Cilento (Head of Institutional Policy, ETUC) and Katia Berti (Head of Unit – European Semester, European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion)


10.00 – 11.00 – Session 1: Agenda 2030 and open strategic autonomy. How to finance investments and social progress.

Chair: Ludovic Voet, ETUC Confederal Secretary

  • Keynote Speech: Enrico Giovannini, Scientific Director of ASVIS and University “Tor Vergata” Rome
  • Discussant: Philippe Lamberts, MEP and CO-President The Greens
  • TU Discussant: TBD

11.00 – 11.30 – Coffee break

11.30 – 12.30 Session 2: Can monetary policy be progressive? Understanding monetary policy in the years to come in the EU and worldwide. Autarchy or coordination?

Chair: Matthieu Méaulle

  • Keynote Speech: Clément Fontan, Uc Louvain and Un. Saint-Louis Bruxelles
  • Discussant-  Jens Van ‘t Klooster, University of Amsterdam
  • TU Discussant: Sotiria Theodoropoulou, ETUI
  • First speaker: Simon Vinge, SACO

13.30 – 15.00 – Lunch Break

15 – 16 – Session 3: A new economic governance for the EU. What about social?

Chair: Marco Cilento

  • Keynote Speech: Stefano Fassina, Economist – Presentation
  • Discussant: Margarida Marques, MEP
  • TU Discussant: Paul Busi, CFDT


16.00 – 17.00 – Session 4: Developing public services, EU infrastructures and European public goods.

Chair: Angelo Salento

  • Keynote Speech: Julie Froud, Manchester Business School
  • Discussant: Cosimo Pacciani, VP Macroeconomics Task Force, SGI Europe and Ioannis Papadopoulos, University of Macedonia
  • TU Discussant: Luigi Veltro, UIL
  • First speaker: Richard Pond, EPSU

8th September 2023

9.30 – 10.30  – Session 5: Social risks and new vulnerabilities (triggering the Social Convergence Framework of the EU).

Chair: Giovanni Casale, ETUC

  • Keynote Speech: Katia Berti, EU Commission, DG EMPL
  • Discussant: Bart  Vanhercke, Director OSE
  • TU Discussant: Alvaro Gaertner, CCOO

10.30 – 11.00 – Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.00 Wrap up and the way forward: Susanna Cafaro (University Salento) and Ludo Voet

                General discussion on TU priorities Semester 2024.

12.00     End of 2023 edition of RETHINKING