Virtual Visions of Europe #2

Socio-economic policy and crisis response

What will be the economic and social impact of the pandemic? In the second edition of VVE we discuss new monetary and fiscal measures by the ECB and member states, the debate over solidarity, including the use of the European Stability Mechanism, the European SURE initiative for temporary (un)employment support, and the proposal for corona (euro) bonds.

About the speakers

Frank Vandenbroucke is University Professor at the UvA. He also teaches at the University of Antwerp, where he holds the Herman Deleck Chair. His research focuses on the impact of the EU on the development of social and employment policy in the EU Member States. He was Minister for Social Security, Health Insurance, Pensions and Employment in the Belgian Federal Government (1999-2004), and Minister of Education and Employment in the Flemish Regional Government (2004-2009). Vandenbroucke was closely involved with the launching of the EU’s Lisbon Strategy in 2000, notably with the development of its social dimension.

Roel Beetsma is MN Chair of Pension Economics and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the UvA.  He is a member of the European Fiscal Board and a Supervisory Board member of two major financial institutions, as well as a fellow of CEPR and CESifo. He has also held visiting positions at DELTA (Paris), the University of British Columbia (Vancouver), the University of California in Berkeley and the EUI Florence. His main research interests are fiscal policy and the macroeconomics of pensions.

Arnoud Boot is Professor of Corporate Finance and Financial Markets at the UvA and Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He is chairman of the European Finance Association (EFA) and research fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London. Currently he serves as a Council Member of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). Previously he was chairman of the Bank Council of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB), and Crown Member of the Social Economic Council (SER).  His research focuses on the ‘financialization of society’, and how we should look at and regulate the financial sector.

Jean Pisani-Ferry holds the Tommaso Padoa Schioppa Chair at the European University Institute in Florence and is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel, the European think tank. He is also a professor of economics at Sciences Po (Paris) and the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin). In 2017, Pisani-Ferry contributed to Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign as the Director of Programme and Ideas. From 2013 to 2016, he served as Commissioner-General of France Stratégie, the ideas lab of the French government. Pisani-Ferry’s publications include numerous books and articles on economic policy and European and international policy issues.

Jonathan Zeitlin (moderator) is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the UvA and ACES Academic Director.

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Background Virtual Visions of Europe

The current Covid-19 pandemic confronts the European Union and its member states with unprecedented challenges. Public health ‘competition’ between countries instead of cooperation, leading to the closing of borders even in the Schengen zone. An economic slump unfolding on a scale not seen since the 1930s. Ever-increasing north-south and east-west divides in Europe. These challenges come on top of the ‘polycrisis’ experienced by the EU and its member states over the past decade: first the financial and euro crises, then the refugee and migration crises, followed by Brexit, alongside rising euroskepticism and attacks on the rule of law in a growing number of member states.  At the same time, the global order within which the EU operates is increasingly challenged by the hostility of nationalist leaders such as Putin and Trump, but also the re-positioning of China in global affairs.

How will the European Union emerge from this crisis? Will the Union come out stronger, with a larger budget, more powers to coordinate public health measures, and reinforced solidarity within the Eurozone? Or will the EU’s inability to reach agreement and take the lead on critical issues in fighting Covid-19 result in a long-term weakening of its internal authority and external influence, or even a full-scale collapse of the European project, as Emmanuel Macron has warned?

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