This eDossier summarises studies from all parts of Europe that aim to analyse how the discussions on the return of austerity policies are being conducted and whether a care society, a climate policy is in the discourse in the respective countries. And last but not least, which left alternatives to the hegemonic state projects have been developed.
As an organisation, transform! europe has been analysing and monitoring the political developments since the outbreak of the crisis. This is the second major publication dealing with the direct economic policy responses of the EU and its Member States. The first of these studies covered nine countries and was published in June 2021, entitled “Economic Anti-Crisis Measures of EU Member States after the Outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020”.
The results of last year’s studies show that governments’ economically irresponsible actions are often not (only) due to EU rules. The governments of the EU Member States did not change the course of their economic policy even when they could have – or rather should have – according to EU rules.
The question is now what impact the NGEU fund, formally adopted on 12 February 2021, will have. The political scene in 2021 was determined by other important political decisions; the European Green Deal, adopted at the end of 2019, had to be backed up with follow-up legislation in the “Fit for 55” packages. Also important was COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, where the EU promised to rapidly reduce its CO2 emissions by 55% (hence the name “Fit for 55”). Not to be forgotten is the EU’s Action Plan on The European Pillar for Social Rights, the strengthening and binding implementation of which has been bitterly fought over for years.
In order to learn more about the national plans, we asked authors from all corners of Europe for studies on the respective national plans related to the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) produced by their governments. We made sure that the authors had a sense of the individual national discourses and power relations in their respective country and did not produce studies containing only abstract economic theory. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and increased political workload, of the numerous authors requested, those from Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal were able to deliver their studies.
What questions did we ask the authors? We wanted to know, among other things, how the potential return of austerity policies would be discussed in their home countries. Furthermore, the pandemic showed that, to our societies, the well-being of all is certainly not of central importance, as it would be in what feminist theory calls a “care society”. We asked whether a care society was being discussed in the respective countries. But what about the climate policies of the states, and what about the enormous goal of further digitalisation? Much of what the left wants to implement cannot be achieved without an industrial policy that is really and truly guided by the state. So, how was the role of public enterprises discussed in the EU in 2021? Last but not least, we asked for left alternatives to the hegemonic state projects.