New production models against COVID-19

This will be the discussion topic at the third Diplocat Digital Talk on 8 September, organized with the Government of Catalonia

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Given the impact of COVID-19 on many areas of our societies, now is a good time to kick off a discussion on the initiatives and new production models which are being put forward in Europe to meet the economic challenges posed by a pandemic world. This is the purpose of the third Diplocat Digital Talk, New production models against COVID-19, which is to be hosted by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) on 8 September as part of the series The world after COVID-19; a decentralising vision.

The event, which will be held online in English with a French translation, is to be organised in conjunction with the ministries of the Vice Presidency and Economy and Finance and Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency and will be attended by key players tasked with designing policies to stimulate the economy in a number of European regions. Natàlia Mas, Secretary of the Economy, will talk about the model implemented in Catalonia; on the German side there will be Karin Scheiffele, Director for International Affairs at the regional government of Baden-Württemberg; Agnès Rampal, Regional Councillor of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, will outline the French approach; and the Swedish viewpoint will come from Helena Holmberg, Vice Chair of the Regional Development Committee in Västra Götaland.

The event will be moderated by Francesc Amat, a researcher from the Institutions and Political Economy Research Group (IPERG) at the University of Barcelona. Bernat Solé, the Catalan Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Laura Foraster, the Secretary General of Diplocat, will welcome the participants.

Economic recovery

During the toughest period of the COVID-19 pandemic, regions and sub-state governments across the board, albeit mainly in Europe and the United States, responded differently to recommendations, statements and instructions from their respective central and federal governments. These governments have often been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic in terms of both the most urgent health and social health measures and also in subsequent economic recovery. A recent OECD report found that the medium-term economic impact of the pandemic will vary depending on a region's exposure to trade sectors, global value chains and type of specialisation. At all events, post-COVID-19 economic recovery will entail endeavours through regional and local recovery plans.

In the European Union, regions are waiting to see how the funds provided by Brussels through the Corona Response Investment Initiative, the bailout package targeting healthcare systems, SMEs, labour markets and other vulnerable parts of the member states' economies, will be managed. However, in addition to this some regions are already beginning to put in place measures to alleviate a looming economic slump. In Catalonia, the government has begun to roll out economic measures for jobs, financial benefits, measures to ease liquidity, basic utilities and so on. In the case of France, regional working groups including development banks have been set up to fast-track business support measures while thousands of euros in national and regional funds have been unlocked to support craftspeople, retailers and small businesses.

These are just a few examples of initiatives, yet there are still many questions to be answered. How were the European regions managing the new production model which was being put into practice before the crisis in care began? Will the pandemic expedite these changes or refocus them? Against a background of steep falls in GDP, what will European regions do to boost economies while ensuring full protection for vulnerable people? How can they benefit from the budget of the Recovery Plan for Europe proposed by the European Commission and what scope is there for cooperation between them in this area? In this webchat, we will try to answer these and other questions. The discussions in this series are addressed to an international audience and in particular to public policy and health analysts, experts in political and institutional communication, specialists in international relations, students and doctoral students, and journalists. Once the discussion is over, it will be available on the Diplocat website. The event will begin at 12 noon and will last approximately 90 minutes. You have to register to take part.