Pandemic-induced social distancing measures and large-scale lockdowns have caused an economic downturn that is more severe than the recession following the 2008 global financial crisis. In a little more than a year, the ubiquitous health threat has unsettled almost all areas of society and economy, learning and working being no exception. In the previous crisis, many governments reacted by imposing severe austerity measures; policy responses to the current health crisis have been more accommodating and, in many respects, bolder. Lawmakers in most EU Member States have taken action to alleviate its immediate effects and protect jobs, businesses, and livelihoods.

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