The Return of Austerity in Europe

Watch the event stream here: The Return of Austerity in Europe (


Thursday, 25 April 2024, 2pm-6.30pm
Small Hall, Main Building, University of Helsinki (Fabianinkatu 33)

Austerity had a detrimental impact on the economic, social, and political development of the European Union (EU) in the 2010s. European institutions and governments believed that reducing public spending was necessary despite the weak economic recovery and high unemployment after the global financial crisis. The weakening of the bargaining power of employees was justified by attempts to lower the structural unemployment rate.

In the early 2020s, EU policymakers adopted a more Keynesian policy stance in response to COVID-19 crisis and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yet in reaction to inflation, the European Central Bank raised interest rates in 2022 and 2023, which lead to rates being in historic highs. Moreover, a return to fiscal austerity seems likely despite the risk of a prolonged recession. The new fiscal rules approved by the EU necessitate substantial fiscal adjustment across the continent.  

In the public event “The Return of Austerity in Europe” organized by the Finnish Centre for New Economic Analysis (UTAK) leading economists and political economists delve into topical economic policy debates in the EU. Where are fiscal and monetary policies heading? Do orthodox views still dominate the debates on labour market policy? Does the return of industrial policy challenge the drive towards austerity?

The event is open for everyone.

14.00 Opening words
Lauri Holappa, Director, the Finnish Centre for New Economic Analysis

14.15 Fiscal consolidation and monetary policy in Europe: past, present and outlook
Philipp Heimberger, Economist, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies
14.50 Fiscal rules
Philippa Sigl-Glöckner, Director, Dezernat Zukunft

15.40 Coffee break

16.00. Keynote:

Fighting unemployment on the labour market or the goods market? NAIRU, hysteresis and economic policy
Engelbert Stockhammer, Professor, King`s College London

16.40. Industrial policy in the European Union (Online lecture)
Maria Savona, Professor, LUISS University and University of Sussex

17.30. Panel debate: Austerity in Europe and Finland
Laura Nordström, Doctoral researcher, University of Helsinki (moderator)
– Lauri Holappa
– Philipp Heimberger
Vesa Vihriälä, Visiting researcher, University of Helsinki

18.30 Closing

You can contact Antti Alaja ([email protected] or 040 1952 041) for further details.

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