Policy brief

Rebooting Europe: a framework for a post COVID-19 economic recovery

COVID-19 has triggered a severe recession and policymakers in European Union countries are providing generous, largely indiscriminate, support to comp

Publishing date
13 May 2020

The issue

To slow the spread of COVID-19, European governments have adopted stringent containment measures. These have led to a severe recession and policymakers in European Union countries are providing generous support to help companies cope with the immediate consequences. The basic approach has been to provide generous and indiscriminate emergency support to help cash-strapped firms meet their immediate liquidity needs. But as lockdown measures continue and the recession gets deeper, a more comprehensive strategy for the future needs to be designed.

Policy challenge

The success of support measures as COVID-19 lockdowns are relaxed depends on the type of recovery the EU wants to achieve. At the same time, decisions taken today will have long-term implications for the single market and government debt. How should further fiscal support provided to companies be structured? What implications will different approaches have for the single market, government budgets and the EU’s climate strategy? Difficult trade-offs lie ahead: a speedier recovery could run counter to green ambitions; national rescues could hurt neighbouring markets. The hard choices in the next phases should follow a set of four principles, and the recovery effort should be structured around equity and recovery funds with borrowing at EU level.

About the authors

  • Guntram B. Wolff

    Guntram Wolff is the Director of Bruegel. Over his career, he has contributed to research on European political economy and governance, fiscal, monetary and financial policy, climate change and geoeconomics. Under his leadership, Bruegel has been regularly ranked among the top global think tanks and has grown in influence and impact with a team of now almost 40 recognized scholars and around 65 total staff. Bruegel is also recognized for its outstanding transparency.

    A recognized thought leader and academic, he regularly testifies at the European Finance Ministers' ECOFIN meeting, the European Parliament, the German Parliament (Bundestag) and the French Parliament (Assemblée Nationale). From 2012-16, he was a member of the French prime minister's Conseil d'Analyse Economique. In 2018, then IMF managing director Christine Lagarde appointed him to the external advisory group on surveillance to review the Fund’s priorities. In 2021, he was appointed to the G20 high level independent panel on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. He is also a professor (part-time) at the Solvay Brussels School of Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he teaches economics of European integration.

    He joined Bruegel from the European Commission, where he worked on the macroeconomics of the euro area and the reform of euro area governance. Prior to joining the Commission, he was coordinating the research team on fiscal policy at Deutsche Bundesbank. He also worked as an external adviser to the International Monetary Fund.

    He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Bonn and studied in Bonn, Toulouse, Pittsburgh and Passau. He taught economics at the University of Pittsburgh and at Université libre de Bruxelles. He has published numerous papers in leading academic journals. His columns and policy work are published and cited in leading international media and policy outlets. Guntram is fluent in German, English, French and has good notions of Bulgarian and Spanish.

  • Simone Tagliapietra

    Simone Tagliapietra is a Senior fellow at Bruegel. He is also Adjunct professor of Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and at The Johns Hopkins University - School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Europe.

    His research focuses on the European Union climate and energy policy and on the political economy of global decarbonisation. With a record of numerous policy and scientific publications, he is the author of Global Energy Fundamentals (Cambridge University Press, 2020), L’Energia del Mondo (Il Mulino, 2020) and Energy Relations in the Euro-Mediterranean (Palgrave, 2017).

    His columns and policy work are published and cited in leading international media such as the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Die Zeit, Corriere della Sera, Il Sole 24 Ore and others.

    Simone holds a PhD in Institutions and Policies from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Born in the Dolomites in 1988, he speaks Italian, English and French.

  • Julia Anderson

    Julia worked at Bruegel as a Research Analyst.

    Prior to joining Bruegel, Julia worked as a competition policy consultant for two years—producing economic analyses in the context of EU mergers and antitrust investigations (Compass Lexecon).

    Julia also has experience teaching economics (NYU), editing academic journals (Journal of Wine Economics), and working in urban development (Vivid Economics). She has trained at a variety of institutions, including research organisations (Max Planck Institute) and government bodies (NY State Attorney General and US Treasury).

    Julia holds master’s degrees in economics (NYU) and in philosophy (LSE), and a bachelors’ degree in economics (NYU). She is fluent in French.

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