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This paper provides a context for the questions to be explored within the Foundation Forum 2022. Europe is emerging from the COVID-19 crisis having managed to protect its economy in the face of a major shock and prevent mass unemployment. However, challenges remain. While the Member States up to now appear to have diverged only moderately, at most, on key economic and social indicators, it seems that the pandemic has widened many social inequalities. The mass shift to telework has raised questions over how the world of work will look in the future. Achieving a climate-neutral society will have profound impacts on the lives and work of EU citizens. And the pandemic has shown how social protection systems are critical to protecting citizens from the worst repercussions of crises – can active protection against vulnerability become more firmly established in the European social model? These topics will form a starting point for the debates of the Forum.

This paper provides the key takeaways from the Foundation Forum 2022 which took place at Dublin Castle on 3 March 2022. The one-day hybrid event brought together over 1,500 EU and national policymakers, social partners and academics. The main topics addressed during the Forum included upward convergence and resilience in the EU, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of work, the challenges and opportunities of moving to a green economy, the challenges for social protection systems, as well as rethinking the future of Europe.

Eurofound’s seventh Foundation Forum set out to explore the theme of Europe’s recovery and how, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the developing crisis in Ukraine, the EU can work to ensure lasting equality, inclusion and social cohesion as it embarks on its path to rebuild a greener, more digital and more resilient Union.

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