Shifting priorities in post-COVID recovery – towards an economy of wellbeing for people and planet

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Scope of the webinar

The webinar will serve to bring the concept of wellbeing economy to the debate in the EU. By presenting several perspectives, it will contribute to the debate on the post-COVID recovery and reconstruction at the level of the EESC.


In January 2020, the EESC called for the EU to propose a new vision of prosperity for people and planet based on:

  • the principles of environmental sustainability,
  • the right to a decent life and
  • the protection of social values.
The concept of wellbeing economy

In the context of the current climate and environmental crisis and raising social inequalities, there is a growing interest in the concept of "wellbeing economy".

This includes among others OECD in-depth work in this area, several countries adopting wellbeing budgets or wellbeing policy initiatives and the Finnish Council Presidency defining the "economy of wellbeing" in late 2019.

The EESC believes that the wellbeing economy should simultaneously:

  • protect ecosystems;
  • conserve biodiversity;
  • deliver a just transition to a climate neutral way of life across the EU;
  • foster sustainable entrepreneurship.
Shifting policy priorities in light of COVID-19 

The current health crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of governments' policies narrowly geared by the pursuit of economic progress measured solely by the GDP growth.

The capacity of governments to take quick and decisive action to protect public health was jeopardized by:

  • underinvestment in the health and care sectors;
  • over-reliance on global supply chains;
  • economic systems dependent on linear processes of production and consumption incompatible with planetary boundaries.

The full impacts of the pandemic on the economy, environment and society will have to be examined and assessed over the coming months. This exceptional time is an opportunity to start a collective reflection on shifting the policy priorities in the EU and setting up a framework for a wellbeing economy.