On 2 March 2023, the Social Dialogue in Defence of Vulnerable Groups in Post-COVID-19 Labour Markets (DEFEN-CE) organized the Midterm Seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania, in which partners gathered together to share their preliminary findings of national-level qualitative research and plan for reporting and disseminating the results of the project. During the morning session, a poster presentation was utilized to communicate research findings so far. Twelve printed posters summarizing the preliminary findings from 12 countries including Sweden, Finland, Czechia, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia and Turkey were presented and discussed. Partners shared their research experiences and insights on the aspects of vulnerable groups and the role of social dialogue in influencing policies and COVID-19 measures aimed at protecting vulnerable groups in labour markets. The studies raised a wide range of topics to be analysed further and highlighted both similarities and differences across countries during the extended period of Covid-10 waves. In the afternoon session, teams brainstormed on individual country reporting, two-country comparisons, EU-level reporting, and how to prepare policy brief papers for European Commission. This was followed by a discussion on wider dissemination of the research findings, incl. stakeholder webinars, publications, video production, and national policy briefs. Deadlines for reports, dissemination events, and the final conference in Brussels were agreed upon by all partners.
The Midterm Seminar was hosted by Inga Blaziene and her team at the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Lithuania. Partner organizations participating in this Seminar included the University of Helsinki, Finland; the Tampere University, Finland; the University of Stockholm, Sweden; the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI); the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; the FONDAZIONE ADAPT, Italy; and, the University of Belgrade, Serbia.