Commissioner Gentiloni hosts first meeting of High-Level Group on post-COVID economic and social challenges

Brussels, 12 February 2021

This afternoon, Commissioner Gentiloni hosted the first meeting of a High-Level Group convened on his initiative. The purpose of the group is to reflect on the main economic and social challenges the European economy will face in the post-COVID environment. In addition to advising the Commissioner, this group will provide inputs to the conceptual work that underpins DG ECFIN’s activities in this area.

The European Commission has responded decisively to the economic and social impact of the pandemic, putting in place major new policy instruments, most notably NextGenerationEU which was formally adopted today. Nevertheless, the medium- to longer-term impact of the pandemic on both the economy and society remains to be seen. The High-Level Group will provide innovative analysis on these issues, to enrich debate and inform future policy choices.

The group is comprised of eight members:

  • Benoit Cœuré, Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, Bank for International Settlements
  • Otilia Dhand, Managing Director, Teneo
  • Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • Enrico Giovannini, Professore Ordinario, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”
  • Melinda Mills, Nuffield Professor of Sociology and Director, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford
  • Hélène Rey, Lord Raj Bagri Professor of Economics, London Business School
  • André Sapir, Professor, Institut d'Études européennes, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Daniela Schwarzer, Director, German Council on Foreign Relations

The group is expected to produce a report, looking at issues including, among others, the implications of the pandemic for the real economy and the twin transitions; financial systems; the role of the private and public sectors in promoting investments and a resilient and sustainable economy; the place of European values in the international division of labour; and changes in society and working patterns. A preliminary report should be prepared in time for the 2021Brussels Economic Forum, which will take place at the end of June. This will then be discussed at a series of events DG ECFIN will organise in the second half of the year, ending with the Annual Research Conference in mid-November. It is envisaged that the group’s final report and the analytical papers presented at the aforementioned events will be published in an edited volume by a major academic publisher.

The High-Level Group will complete its activities by the end of 2021.