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7 Settembre 2021 @ 14:00 8 Settembre 2021 @ 17:00


The European Union enters into a post-pandemic recovery phase more integrated economically, and with a clear commitment to rethink its growth model. The risk of a new pandemic wave is still 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.  

It is relevant that the European social partners converged on the idea that the economy thrives in dynamic societies, where entrepreneurship is alive; workers are well-educated, highly skilled, and motivated; and where women, immigrants and young workers successfully participate in the labour market in stable jobs. Health of people is also crucial for a long-standing recovery (read full text here).

If the EU wants to be a frontrunner in sustainability, the future economic governance of the EU has to reflect these ambitions and give them prominence in the implementation of the investment effort for recovery.

It is not an easy task since it is also a time of high uncertainty. It is not easy to think strategically when we are not in a position to fully understand how the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic will intertwine with the social and societal consequences of the green transitions. It is also difficult to predict what technologies will be predominant in our lives and how they will change our work. It is not even clear how demography and migration will evolve in a post-pandemic era and what social risks have to be mitigated. It is also unclear what social divides will be threatening our democratic institutions and the social cohesion of our communities.

More than ever, strategic thinking is crucial for the trade union movement. The outcome of the Social Summit in Porto, held on 7th and 8th of May, projects the EU toward an economy of sustainable well-being and announced a new governance in which European workers are better off. However, good intentions need to be followed by action. The Conference on the Future of Europe is also an opportunity to put forward innovative ideas.

2021 and 2022 will, therefore, be of great importance for the recovery strategy, and to redesign the growth model and distribution patterns of the EU.  “Rethinking 2021” aims at improving the trade union strategic thinking in order to be more vocal and to advocate a progressive agenda in this moment of change.

It will be divided in 3 areas of discussion:

  • Making significant progress: the development model intertwining with the recovery strategy.
  • A brand-new governance of the EU: striking a new balance between social, environmental and fiscal requirements.
  • Mapping social risks and societal divides and implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights.


The RETHINKING 2021 event will be organised in  Montepulciano (Italy) and on Zoom in hybrid format.

All speeches will be delivered in English, however the event can be followed through the Zoom platform in

French, Italian, Spanish and Polish (the language offer may change according to participant needs).

The event is part of the ETUC Action in the framework of the of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Main topics on the agenda:

Session 1: An economy of well-being. Social risks and governance tools.

Session 2: A progressive narrative of growth and social progress.

Session 3: The Debt issue. The cornerstone of the new EU economic and social governance

Session 4: What will be the cornerstone of an EU social governance? 

Session 5: social divides and policy response for a new economic governance of the EU. The gender issue.

Session 6: Impact of technology on the transformation of the world of work.

Session 7: Will sustainable finance align private sector and public objectives resulting in an inclusive and sustainable recovery?


  • Romina Boarini,Director of the WISE Centre at OECD 
  • Rolph Van der Hoeven,emeritus Professor of Employment and Development Economics at the ISS of Erasmus University (EUR), former director in several UN Agencies 
  • Matt Browne,founder of Global Progress and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC, 
  • Erika Widegren, Chief Executive of Re-Imagine Europa (RIE) 
  • Simeon Djankov, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics 
  • Julie Froud,Professor of Financial Innovation at Manchester University 
  • Federica Saliola,Lead Economist in the Jobs Group of the World Bank and co-Director of the World Development Report 2019 
  • Nicola Countouris, Director reearch department of the European Trade Union Institute 
  • Paolo Reboani, economist, former Director Italian Agency for Labour Market Policy
  • Nicola Salento, Professor at University of Salento and lead in the Foundational Economy Collective
  • Katia Berti, Economis and Head of Social Aspects of the European Semester at the European Commission – DG EMPL 
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation 
  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation 


Branko Milanovic, Economist

Pierre Moscovici, President Cour de Comptes, France

Celine Gauer, Director DG Recovery Taskforce

Nathan Fabian, Chair of the Sustainable Finance Platform