Brussels Economic Forum 2021: How can Europe build a new post-pandemic economy?

Rebooting Europe’s economies after the hit from the coronavirus pandemic is key for the bloc’s recovery and bringing together the sharpest minds is crucial for the future.

On Tuesday, June 29, international policymakers, academics, civil society and business leaders will come together at the Brussels Economic Forum, the flagship annual economic event of the European Commission.

The main event starting at 13:45 CEST will begin with an opening address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and will include a lecture by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as a keynote addresses by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.

The annual event, which has been ongoing for more than 20 years, will be hosted by Euronews’ business editor Sasha Vakulina. The focus of discussions will be: “making it happen, building the new economy we want.”

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused the worst recession in the EU’s history, according to the European Commission’s forecast, which said between April and June 2020, the EU economy shrunk 11.4%.

But with activity reopening in time for the summer and vaccinations underway, the latest Commission forecast estimates Europe’s economies will return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2022.

The bloc also launched its NextGenerationEU recovery plan, which alongside the EU’s long term budget, is the largest stimulus package ever financed in Europe. The total €1.8 trillion aims to be a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe.

Part of the discussion on Tuesday will be on the subject of a green and fair recovery with the European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni, Ingka Group’s President and CEO Jasper Brodin and Economist Esther Duflo, who is also a professor of poverty alleviation and development economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Has GDP had its day?

Another discussion will be on whether Gross Domestic Product should be replaced by a different economic indicator. GDP was first used to measure material production needs during World War II.

But a new Commission report states that GDP fails to inform decision-makers on how the benefits of growth spread across the population. It also says it does not take into account the depletion of natural resources and environmental sustainability. The panel talking on this subject will be: Katherine Trebeck from the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and Charles Wyplosz, emeritus professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute Geneva.

A full list of the panel can be seen here and you can watch the live discussions on Euronews.com.

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