A virus is haunting Europe. And it could strike again. This year’s 20th anniversary issue of the European Trade Union Institute’s (ETUI) and the European Trade Union Confederation’s (ETUC) flagship publication Benchmarking Working Europe brings to a growing audience of trade unionists, industrial relations specialists and policymakers a simple warning: beside SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the Covid-19 pandemic and thrown Europe’s economies into a sudden and profound recession, ‘austerity’ is the other nefarious agent from which workers, and Europe as a whole, need to be protected in the challenging months and years ahead.
It is essential to note from the outset that there are enough signs to justify some cautious optimism about the future trajectory of the present crisis. The 20th anniversary issue of Benchmarking has allowed the trade unions to contribute to key European debates on the basis of fact-based analysis.