DEFEN-CE: Social Dialogue in Defence of Vulnerable Groups in Post-COVID-19 Labour Markets


2021 - 2023

Project number:

European Union

The project fills the knowledge gap concerning opportunities and challenges for strengthening social dialogue in the exceptional COVID-19 pandemic governance related to vulnerable groups’ social rights and working conditions.

The main research question of DEFEN-CE is how social dialogue plays a role in addressing the employment and social protection rights of the vulnerable groups in the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath in 2020-2022. Project aims are addressed via a multi-method approach, including database analysis and qualitative comparative analysis at the EU and national levels. DEFEN-CE is committed to inclusiveness: it gathers data from all European regions (Northern, Western, Central, Southern, Eastern Europe) and includes both Member States and candidate countries (Serbia and Turkey).

The lead partner is the University of Helsinky, CELSI is the scientific coordinator responsible for the project’s methodology.

Project aims:

  • Mapping public policy at national and EU-level in defense of the vulnerable groups upon the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Mapping social partners’ strategies at national and EU level in defense of the vulnerable groups upon the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Seeking interactions between social partners’ activities and policy making in tackling social and employment risks of vulnerable groups
  • Promoting exchange of information for effective social dialogue between workers, employers and public authorities at national and EU level
  • Understanding better the risks and opportunities for defending the vulnerable groups in the future
  • Policy impact: gather evidence-based knowledge and recommendations for national and EU-level policy making
  • Academic impact – conferences and journal publications using the collected data


Publications will be presented soon

Project partners:

University of Helsinky

University of Stockholm

University of Duisburg-Essen

Fondazione ADAPT

University of Belgrade

Lithuanian Social Research Centre

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