The special edition of SOU took place in unprecedented times, during the COVID-19 pandemic, which in just a short time drastically changed the lives of billions of people around the world. The entirely online event was designed around the conference theme “Europe: Managing the COVID-19 Crisis” and fostered reflection on three key policy areas profoundly impacted by the pandemic: public health, the economy and global cooperation. The event hosted 23 high-level speakers and included Giuseppe Conte, Paolo Gentiloni, Kristalina Georgieva, Roula Khalaf, Christine Lagarde, Charles Michel, Mari E. Pangestu, Jeffrey Sachs and Alexander Stubb. Over 550 experts, of which 44.1% were women, participated in the specialised audience of the interactive panel debates, while over 9000 people around the world live-streamed the conference throughout the day. The scientific content of the conference was supported by an exclusive first look at YouGov international public opinion surveys on topics relating to the impact on the pandemic on various social issues. The EUI also created a podcast series containing key take-away points from the panel debates.