15-16 September - Re-Thinking our social democratic models in an economy with high debt and low interest rates.

    An ETUC and Luci sul Lavoro initiative

    All info are now here


    To register and attend the event, please contact the Semester Team at the ETUC

    The legacy of the pandemic crisis leaves the global economy with piles of debt and artificially low interest rates. To some extent we have entered unknown territories, and uncertainties make political decisions an arduous exercise. Short-termism of political cycles badly pairs with the forecasted prolonged anomaly of the economic outlook (deepening of global recession, effects on inequalities, length of the economic recovery and return to full employment).

    The recovery phase is rather a long run to preserve social cohesion. Nothing more than a symmetric shock (like the pandemic event) produces asymmetric consequences, especially in Europe where national economies were already distanced by deep social spreads.  The economic adversity of the pandemic crisis may condemn groups of people to live in poverty or drastically reduce their expectations of well-being. Sustainability, as yearned for in the UN2030 agenda, is at risk.

    Political, economic and social factors play together, determining the sustainability of national economies, but the way they interact is also evolving. Social spreads can exacerbate the economic shortages so making the picture of a quick recovery more complex and difficult to manage. The European social model is historically meant to be a component of economic success and this is reflected in the EU treaties. Still, the European Social Model can shape the new social contract with the promise that all Europeans will fairly benefit from transforming the UE in the most sustainable economy in the world. If we include the future generations into the picture, the need to shift (financial and material) resource on to the future brings new challenges. The issues of high debt and low interest rate trends are even more relevant.

    Human progress is not only science but should also commit with the designing of the democracy of tomorrow, beyond the state. An economy characterised by high debt and low interest rates need the reinforcement of democratic institutions and an exercise of institutional engineering to reinforce global institutions, and the EU ones as well.

    The injection of abnormal quantity of liquidity from relaxed monetary policies, need an additional effort for democracy and for rule-of-law. The cross-border dimension becomes crucial. The green transition and the digital transformation are inalienable objectives but they need investments that are cross-border in nature. Demographic challenges, they also hold cross-border connotations. In an economy with high debt and low interest rates the relationship between public and private in the economy will take new shapes: this will likely affect cross-border supply chain, will affect the way public-private partnership work , and will modify the governance of globalisation processes. 

    Mainstream organisations like the ETUC hold the responsibility to advance proposals, to give centrality to the world of work and make of collective bargaining and employee participation the centrepiece of the new economic and social model we want. The new social contract, put forward only few months ago in the ETUC Congress in Vienna, was aimed at offsetting the social spreads that were poisoning our democracies. The need today is to adapt it to the new context and for that we are asking qualified practitioners to feed our vision with a collective thinking exercise.

    2 days of work (accessible via invitation of ETUC and Luci sul Lavoro) will prepare a deeper debate with key decision maker at European and national level.

    © ETUC 2020 - European Trade Union Confederation / EU