The 20th edition of the joint ETUC and ETUI yearly publication Benchmarking Working Europe comes at an extraordinary moment in time. The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession offers the crudest and harshest of “stress tests” to probe the ability and willingness of the EU to emerge from this new crisis without repeating some of the mistakes of the past. Without the pandemic the report would have continued to dissect the variety of EU economic policies and benchmark their effects against the needs and the living conditions of European workers. Instead, this 20th anniversary issue of the Benchmarking report explores the challenges posed by the pandemic on both European economies and the world of work - challenges such as unemployment, rising public debt, shortages in the health and care sectors - and sets out the case for a socially responsible and ecologically sustainable road out of the Covid-19 crisis. Key elements in this strategy are the need for unprecedented levels of public spending, the acknowledgement of the redistributive function of decent working conditions and fair wages, and last but not least the recognition of industrial democracy as a key pillar for the current recovery strategy. All those aspects need to be developed and reconciled with the overarching priority of a just transition to a green economy, which is undoubtedly the greatest challenge that Europe needs to embrace in the years to come.

Date Thursday, 10th December 2020, 15:45