People Political Sciences

An Economic Historian Advises on How to Handle Future Crises

, by Andrea Costa
Mattia Fochesato has been part of a group of academics dealing with how to prepare for as yet unforeseen shocks

Mattia Fochesato, Assistant Professor of the Department of Social and Political Science, was a member of the SAPEA working group, who produced an Evidence Review Report under the title "Strategic crisis management in the EU". This report was the basis for a set of recommendations by a special Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission. Both documents have been officially handed over to Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Janez Lenarčič and published on 22 November.

The many and far-reaching shocks marking the first two decades of this century, be they of geopolitical, economic or environmental nature (not to mention the global pandemic) have forced policymakers to fundamentally change their approach to wide-ranging events. Crisis management needs to be rethought as a strategic activity, not just as a response to an emergency. This shift is impossible without a sound scientific foundation, calling for an integrated perspective that consolidates and combines knowledge and evidence across a broad range of domains and disciplines.

"My own contribution," Fochesato explains, "was specifically focused on the long-term implications of decisions taken in an emergency, an aspect which may be overlooked during a crisis. As an economic historian specialized in pre-modern history, it is natural for me to consider longer timespans and to study how the events of the past might have shaped and continue to impact on our societies."