Yet another (!) video meeting

Our project’s staff were already familiar with online meetings before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. But like many others, in this project we have moved to cooperation through virtual exchange almost exclusively in recent months. However we also realise that working on our learning content, and in particular sharing educational methods, will always be best done face-to-face. At our last meeting, we discussed various possibilities for cooperating both online and in person, within the timeframe of our project. Fostering a European spirit among citizens as well as opening minds to international perspectives depends on open borders – for all.

Photo by Fabio Mangione on Unsplash/montage SB, weltgewandt e.V.

Taxes and the road to recovery

Either politicians have the courage to redistribute wealth or major conflicts are imminent. Either way, you can sometimes hear it when it comes to question who pays for the Corona pandemic and how should an economy’s recovery be done. What do economists say?

Alfie Stirling and Sarah Arnold from the New Economics Foundation explain the situation for the UK and discuss when taxes should be raised or cut. Sure is, “.. the government should not be raising taxes during a crisis. More than anything, the economy needs money in people’s pockets — especially the very poorest, who most need the cash and are most likely to spend it.” They argue against austerity which includes higher VAT and cuts. On the contrary, the best way were government investments: “A far better way to boost demand now would be direct investment by government. This could come in the form of boosting public services by increasing both pay and the number of jobs for key workers, as well as by investing in much needed green and social infrastructure — such as home insulation and electrified transport — and social housing.”

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Corona Bonds: Yes or No?

During the Corona pandemic comes an idea ‘on the table’ again: Euro bonds. With modifications, it is currently discussed as Corona bonds. What is the idea behind? Which arguments may convince to introduce this type of common bonds? What do scientists say and who rejects Corona bonds?

“Corona bonds are feasible and important to preserve the European project. We set out a number of principles that might serve as a blueprint for the European institutions. Importantly, Corona bonds could be issued through a new public law entity and include all the safeguards required for the protection of the fundamental values of the EU.”

This is said by authors of the Leibniz Information Center for Economics who published the paper “The case for Corona bonds“.

Pierino Postacchini, on the contrary, says in his article from 16/04/2020 “Corona Bonds are not the Solution. We need faster Measures that only the ECB can Implement”. They should be implemented after the virus crisis. Read his thoughts on Brave New Europe.

However, even authors from a think-tank which is known as being more conservative argue pro Corona bonds, see the article “European instruments against the Corona crisis incomparison“.

Corona bonds are mainly rejected by the German government. Andreas Becker explains in his article “Coronabonds and the idea of European financial unity” aspects of this old EU dispute on financial solidarity.

Economic strategies to manage the crisis

Instead of a five-day workshop in Tartu, Estonia, the group of colleagues from seven EU countries started a series of video conferences to exchange contributions to the learning platform that is currently being developed. The first meeting was dedicated to the discussion of two articles. One was written by the Spanish partners from the organisation ITD -Innovación, Transferencia y Desarrollo “Economic strategies to overcome the crisis: austerity measures or government investment programmes? The other was produced by the colleague from the WSEI University in Lublin/Poland: “Europe: Competition or Cooperation”? Very “hot topics” that fit very well with the current situation in Europe. The exchange was accordingly stimulating and fruitful.

Our first meeting in Prague

Our Czech partner organisation, Aviteum, hosted colleagues from Vienna (Austria(, Tartu (Estonia), Dublin (Ireland), Lublin (Poland), Barcelona (Spain) and Berlin (Germany) at our first project meeting Prague from 7-9 November 2019. Together we planned the design and content of the online learning platform for adult socio-economic education which we intend to develop. In particular, we focussed in on identifying the specific target group we wish to reach, and how to meet the needs of the future users of our learning platform. We fine-tuned the topics which we intend to deal with: market and state, labour, money, taxes, debt, migration and global justice. Now, we await the first educational texts from our partner organisations, which will be discussed at our next meeting.