Promoting social cohesion and convergence

Watch the video - Joint webinar: Equality and inclusion in a post-pandemic EU

Per, 21/10/2021
Per, 21/10/2021

Thursday, 21 October 2021, 11.00 Irish time / 12.00 CEST

As part of the debate on the Conference on the Future of Europe, Eurofound, in cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Ireland and European Movement Ireland organised a LIVE webinar on Equality and Inclusion in a Post-pandemic EU.

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As Europe embarks on its path to rebuild a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe, this webinar looked at how the EU and its Member States can tackle growing inequalities and what needs to happen, in the wake of the pandemic, to create a more inclusive, diverse and engaged society.

Drawing on Eurofound’s recent EU-wide survey on Living, working and COVID-19, Massimiliano shared insights about how inequalities have increased during COVID-19 and how certain groups such as women, young people, people with disabilities and the situation of migrants have been particularly affected; Ana Carla explored the role of the EU’s recovery plan in mitigating the economic and social impact of the pandemic; And Shana focused on the specific challenges facing the most vulnerable groups and how leaders, civil society, social partners and policy makers must redouble their efforts as Europe emerges from the pandemic.

The panellists provided a brief introduction followed by a discussion and Q&A. Participants were invited to submit their questions by email to .

The key points of discussion and the issues raised by participants during the webinar will be uploaded on the Conference on the Future of Europe’s digital platform after the event.

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Webinar speaker image: Maria Jepsen

Moderator: Maria Jepsen, Deputy Director, Eurofound

Maria Jepsen is Eurofound’s Deputy Director, appointed on 1 November 2019. Prior to this, she was Director of the research department at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), and assistant professor and research fellow at the Free University of Brussels (ULB). She is currently also associate professor in labour economics at ULB and external lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL). Her main research interests include gender studies, the impact of welfare states on labour supply, wages and working conditions, and more recently the development of the European social dimension. Ms Jepsen has been a member of various committees, councils and advisory boards at national and international level on employment, social, gender and research issues. She has also served as a coordinator on the European Commission tripartite advisory committee on health and safety at work. She holds a PhD in Economics and a Master’s degree in Econometrics from the Free University of Brussels (ULB).

Webinar speaker image: Gijs van Houten

Speaker: Ana Carla Pereira, Employment and Social Advisor for EU Commissioner Schmit

Ana Carla Pereira is Cabinet Expert and employment and social policy adviser to Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. Previously she was Head of Unit in Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission, firstly being responsible for skills and qualifications policies and later on for social protection policies (including pensions, long-term care and health). As Head of Unit she coordinated several Commission policy initiatives such as the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the initiative on ‘access to social protection” or the Pensions Adequacy Reports. She has also worked more than ten years on the implementation of European Employment Strategy and several years in the private sector as a business consultant specialised in human performance. She graduated in Economics at University of Coimbra (PT) and holds a MA in European Human Resources Studies from the College of Europe (BE). She speaks Portuguese as a mother tongue and is fluent in English, French and Italian.

Speaker: Massimiliano Mascherini, Eurofound’s Head of Social Policies

Massimiliano is Head of Unit for Social Policies at Eurofound since October 2019. He joined in 2009 to design and coordinate projects on youth employment, NEETs and their social inclusion, as well as on the labour market participation of women. As a Senior Research Manager, he led new research on monitoring convergence in the European Union. He studied at the University of Florence, majoring in Actuarial and Statistical Sciences and completing a PhD in Applied Statistics. He has been visiting fellow at the University of Sydney and at Aalborg University and visiting professor at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.


Webinar speaker image: Shana Cohen

Speaker: Shana Cohen, Director of TASC

Shana Cohen studied at Princeton University and at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a PhD in Sociology. Her PhD analysed the political and social consequences of market reform policies in Morocco for young, educated men and women. Since then, she has continued to conduct research on how economic policies have influenced political and social identity, particularly in relation to collective action and social activism. She has taught at George Washington University, the University of Sheffield, and most recently, University of Cambridge, where she is still an Affiliated Lecturer and Associate Researcher. Her areas of teaching have included global social policy, globalization, and human services. Before coming to TASC, she was Deputy Director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge. In her role at the Institute, she became engaged with interfaith and intercultural relations in Europe, India, and the Middle East. Beyond academic research, Shana has extensive experience working with NGOs and community-based organizations in a number of countries, including Morocco, the US, the UK, and India. This work has involved project design, management, and evaluation as well as advocacy. She has consulted for the World Bank, the Grameen Bank Foundation, and other private foundations and trusts.

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