Society needs greater resilience to tackle COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis is already having a huge economic, social and political impact. While a great deal of effective action has been taken to weather the current crisis, The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) has also observed the disproportionate economic and health risks affecting the vulnerable, how businesses are struggling to absorb the shock, and the adverse effects on international cooperation. In its report entitled Vulnerability and resilience, the WRR aims to provide support for the government and for parliament as they tackle the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Reflections on the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis

The WRR believes that the measures to be taken should include strengthening the knowledge and capacity available within government, changes to the flexible labour market and social security, better societal integration for business, reflection on the trend towards accelerating digitization, and developing greater resilience to disruptions at international level.

This is a crucial task for the government: it must strengthen the resilience of our society so that the country can both recover from the current crisis and be better prepared for the changes that lie ahead. However, the government cannot achieve all this alone: the responsibility needs to be shared by citizens, companies and civil society organizations. International coordination and solidarity will also be vital in this regard.

In this report, the WRR offers its initial reflections on a situation that is continuing to evolve. Further detail will be added to certain aspects of these reflections in the near future.

WRR’s role in the COVID-19 crisis

It is the WRR’s aim to provide support for the government and for parliament as they tackle the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak for the Netherlands. In view of the WRR’s remit, this will not take the form of suggestions for ready-made policy measures. Instead it will seek to guide the choices that the Netherlands faces with respect to a future that is clouded in uncertainty.