In a series of hackathons, the European Dialogue Programme of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has invited partner organisations and individuals from among their networks across Europe to engage in a dynamic process of generating innovative, liberal ideas and concepts for a social market economy fit for the 21st century. The second will be hosted by the Brussels office and engage European stakeholders.
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Mentioned in the EU Treaties, social market economy stands for an economic order, which combines free markets and social protection measures. This concept, that has many different dimensions across the EU and has been changing focus over time, is currently revisited in the light of digital transformation, the increased use of artificial intelligence, as well as challenges to the cohesion of the European Union through crises.
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Understanding the scope and impact of big data and algorithms on citizens, enterprises and governments is crucial to rethink roles and responsibilities in our economic and social model. In addition, the current COVID-19 pandemic is acting as a catalyst for digitalisation across economies and societies. Digital solutions are in demand, therefore supporting the rapid development, adaptation and promotion of digital skills.
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Past and current crises have intensified the debate on solidarity among member states and the social dimension of the EU. A re-balanced economic system with a pronounced social approach could become the glue that holds a diverse Union together in times of uncertainty. Formulating innovative ideas, bearing a liberal imprint, will therefore be necessary to strengthen cohesion and enable a stronger EU.