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Working on Europe YUFE Academy, Session 1

20 September 2021 | 16:0018:00

| Spoken language: English

Session 1: The Great Lockdown and the Sustainability of the European Socioeconomic Project

Lecturer: Dr Ivan Rubinić | Postdoctoral researcher at Studio Europa Maastricht

Time and date: Monday 20 September (16.00-18.00)


Session details

This lecture’s principal purpose is charting the route towards a sustainable European integration through the lessons drawn from the nexus between the cross-country COVID-19 pandemic response effectiveness and the economic inequalities. Given the vast cross-country inequalities in initial capital and labour endowments, the European single market generates unequal labour exchange and the cross-country differences in social labour recognition. The latter leads to the institutional setting systemically fostering inequalities between the capital-abundant west and the less-developed East. Even though the eastern countries are catching up with the west, this process is slow, far from over, and hindered by the persisting unequal relations which enable the west to exploit the East. In this regard, this lecture aims to provide a compelling framework supporting the progressive idea of European unity by showing that the existing inequalities contradict the implementation of the admirable European values of equality, solidarity, and cohesion. Through the prism of European affairs, this exposes the tension between two types of solidarity, that of national public systems and that of supranational solidarity, being the core value underlying the European social project. In line with current developments, persisting on this conundrum stemming from vast differences in available resources exerts and will continue to exert an enormous challenge for the European cohesiveness. To tackle this crisis in an orderly fashion and secure post-COVID European sustainability, policymakers must realise that prioritising market freedoms ahead of societal necessities render a disservice to both. Consequently, this lecture will demonstrate that the COVID pandemic mandates abandoning nation-centred decision-making and demands rethinking European values in a conceptual and practical sense.

Pre-attendance materials

  • Rubinić, I., & Tajnikar, M. (2019). Labour Force Exploitation and Unequal Labour Exchange as the Root Cause of the Eurozone’s Inequality. Društvena Istraživanja, 29 (2), 207-228.
  • Rubinić, I. (2020). Pandemic Paradigm Shift. Journal of Labor and Society, 23 (3), 383-397.
  • European Commission (2021). Recovery and Reselience Facility. Online, Available at:
  • The Economist (2021). Covid-19’s second wave has devastated eastern European countries. Online, Available at:

Specific Learning Outcomes

  • Acquiring an in-depth understanding of the European inequalities and the complexities related to the European pandemic response plan.
  • Understanding the disconnect between European values and socioeconomic realities.
  • Developing abilities of critical assessment of the European policymaking.
  • Developing personal, students’ competencies related to expressing ideas in an open debate with increased confidence.

Lecturer Profile

Dr. Ivan Rubinić is a postdoctoral researcher in European integration at Studio Europa Maastricht, Maastricht University. He is working toward the advancement of political economy, economic inequality, international trade, development economics, and European integration. He is a passionate advocate of pluralism in economics with a research focus on European inequalities, welfare, and prosperity. He holds PhD in Economics obtained from the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana. He has been awarded the University of Ljubljana Recognition for the Best Study Achievements, the Danubius Young Scientist Award, and the URPE Doctoral Fellowship. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Review of Economics and Economic Methodology. Ivan is a political economy lecturer committed to exposing that excessive cross-country inequalities stand in the way of the European vision of shared prosperity, equality, and cohesiveness. In this regard, his theoretical and empirical efforts aim to overhaul the ideological oppositions to render the admirable European integration sustainable and aligned with its founding values. His scholarly record is comprised of a number of publications, recognized by many renowned scientific outlets, including Palgrave Macmillan, Routledge, and Oxford University Press.

What is the YUFE Academy?

Working on Europe YUFE Academy is a series of student-based, research-centred lectures jointly organised by the Maastricht University and Studio Europa Maastricht under the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) alliance. Even though the program was developed with students in mind, you do not have to be a student to participate in the lectures, everyone is welcome to join!

The upcoming lecture series aims to provide unique and interdisciplinary research on Europe and European integration. Fostered through a proactive and critical debate, students will be engaged in exploring the most relevant concerns of the European Project and discover their role in shaping its future.

This year’s programme will feature five interconnected, two-hour sessions. The aim of the academy is to introduce the students to the topics of European inequalities, citizens’ participation and heritage, executive federalism, migration, and welfare. Enrolled students will be able to attend all lectures or participate in individual lectures that are of interest to them.


Students must register to individual lectures using the following button


Participation is free of charge.

The registration portal will be open until September 10, 2021.

The number of participants is limited to 150.


20 September 2021


Studio Europa Maastricht