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Vote for a Social Solidarity Europe !
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Open letter to candidates standing in the European Parliamentary election

The Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) brings together national and territorial networks in Europe with a 360° transformative vision that is economic and ecological, democratic, social and societal. We are committed to change in the economic practices and imagination: 

  • Rehabilitate cooperation, solidarity and equity in a break with existing unbridled competition
  • Focus on the emancipation of individuals, economic citizenship and human rights as higher principles
  • End the waste of resources, the indiscriminate use of pollutants, the excessive pursuit of profit

The European Parliament elections will be held between 24th and 26th May 2019. Let us consider Article 3 of the EU Treaty, in particular paragraphs 1, 2 and 3: “1. The Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples. It promotes economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity between States”. 

This new Parliament will undoubtedly have to face a very challenging situation within the European Union, and in the world: accelerating climate threats, extinction of animal species, deteriorating living conditions, the phenomenon of migration. Moreover, the increase in authoritarian political regimes has become blatant, as an appempt to stifle the growing aspiration of peoples to access their fundamental rights. As a result of all the above, the European ideal is under severe threat and the European ideal of peaceful cohesion of peoples has lost its credibility with those living in the ever-growing precariousness that is the outcome of a blind, globalized economic system. 

In the face of these challenges, European citizens are organizing, proposing appropriate solutions and re-creating a relocalised social and solidarity economy, that is respectful of biotopes, and anchored in social justice and the common good. They encourage consultation with local institutions, enterprises and elected officials. This solidarity model is expanding rapidly in Europe and throughout the world, makes it possible to create an economy that supports the well-being of our societies, allying producers and consumers in responsible production and consumption models. It makes a significant contribution to the territorial cohesion and the preservation of resources through their intelligent use. It ensures that planetary boundaries are not exceeded.

This new parliament has the duty to take on board that European electors wish to be consulted beforehand and become active stakeholders in the policies, laws and rules that affect them and influence the future of the planet ,and build peace in the world.

We request you take position on the following ten points

1. It is fundamental to take the path of a more ethical, responsible and solidarity-based redistributive economy in which the Social solidarity economy is fully recognised as an exemplary economic model that increases wellbeing and peace within Europe. Similarly, in a transversal way across sectoral policies, we call on you to build and pass the necessary laws to do so.

2. Food and agriculture that respects the soil, air and water, eliminates the use of toxic inputs that have a dangerous impact on human health and living species and promotes decent incomes for small and medium-sized farms by limiting industrial agriculture, processing and distribution models and developing short food chains with traceability and approved by consumers and producers.

3. Low-carbon transport infrastructure that services terriorities and meets local peoples’ needs and specifically rehabilitates rail and inland waterway transport, public transport, special bicycle lanes and shared forms of transportation.

4. A renewable energy development policy based on the production of eco-designed, solidarity-based and sustainable goods and services and breaks with the current obsolete fossil fuel-based model that is both harmful to the climate and dangerous.

5. An ambitious European Social Rights Pillar and a unified European labour code based on the Gothenburg Social Summit (16-18 November 2017), that supports access to protective social rights (pension,health cover, unemployment rights, training, etc.), and eliminates harmful social dumping on countries where companies relocate in the community and establish intolerable working conditions that fly in the face of decent work (see RIPESS Europe contribution). This includes the recognition and construction of cultural rights in Europe (in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Diversity , the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity, Earth Chart and the Declaration of Peasants Rights and Rights of Other People living in Rural Areas), and the respect of Indigenous Peoples and local cultures.

6. Ongoing commitment to fight against all forms of discrimination based on gender, origin, sexual orientation and religion by developing an educational system oriented towards an understanding of our common belonging to humanity, whose future depends on our solidarity and cooperation.

7. An ambitious common policy for human rights, open borders and economic citizenship for migrants that ensure the immediate integration of people in compliance with international conventions for the protection of human rights (UN conventions and the main conventions previously adopted by the Council of Europe, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families/ICRMW).

8. A coherent plan to build and consolidate economic conditions in countries that are sources of migration for the benefit of local communities through the implementation of Social Solidarity Economy framework legislation and programmes. The European Union also needs to exert pressure on large companies when the level of predation on resources dispossesses local populations through notoriously unethical procedures, rather than support them.

9. Support for education that emphasizes civic engagement, cooperation rather than competition, a fair and redistributive economy and ecological awareness that are conducive to transitional innovations.

10. A regulated financial system, that promotes ethical non-speculative public finance that serves a transformative solidarity economy and communities and a plurality of alternative and complementary social and local currency systems, which do not create debt but promote fair trade, and sustainable relocalised local development.

All these policies are necessary. The social solidarity economy movement as a whole can collectively and democratically implement them. Your active participation in this process is indispensible. Your position – and our votes – are key in providing the opportunity to open the future towards greater social justice, economic democracy and economic vigilance.

RIPESS Europe and its members will support your efforts and relay the declarations of intent that support these positions. We invite you to join us and participate in the construction of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020.

April 2019

RIPESS EU members on European elections

ROMANIA : CRIES will promote Sustainable Consumption and Production in the campaign for European Parliament!

As part of the European campaign #Trade Fair Live Fair, CRIES and its partners will launch a debate about the importance to stand up for a different consumption and production model. More than 5.000 citizens, activists and politicians will be involved in different events as thematic workshops, conferences, films projection and street events.

On May 11, several activities related to the World Fair Trade Day will take place in Timisoara and Iasi. In November 2019, we will organize in Bucharest the first edition of Fair Trade Breakfast, an event that would bring together Romanian and European decision makers, NGOs and activists.

Romania is one of the three EU Member States where more than a third of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2017, with a share of 35.7% (Eurostat). Even in this context, it is difficult to question the dominant model of development; the general preoccupation is to assure more economic growth than a sustainable one.

The thematic of Fair Trade is not present on the political agenda of Romanian parties. The participation in this project will help us to develop educational activities, to initiate dialogue with citizens and candidates. We hope to generate new information and motivation among Romanian citizens in order to claim more actions for a sustainable development”, says Mihaela Vețan, president of CRIES –Ressources Center for Ethical and Solidarity based Initiatives.

FRANCE : RTES calls on French candidates for the European Parliament

The Network of Territories for the Solidarity Economy (RTES) launches a call for all candidates, on the basis of the 10 proposals of the RTES for a more united Europe,

In partnership with ESS France and the Le Labo ESS, lunches or breakfasts are organised with European candidates, based on SSE for Europe advocacy proposals from members of ESS France, Social Economy Europe, the ESS Labo and RTES.

RTES will participate in the debate on the questioning of candidates in the European elections organised by Commerce Equitable France, on the 13th of May 2019, on the theme of Inequality and climate change: Which Europe to face these global challenges?

FRANCE : The MES appeals to future MEPs on ten key points

The Mouvement for Solidarity Economy (MES) in France has made an appeal through an Open Letter to European Elections Candidates

SPAIN : REAS proposes a framework of proposals

In view of the series of electoral calls that will take place in the spring of 2019 in the Spanish State, from REAS network of networks, independent organization and composed of 18 sectoral and territorial networks throughout the State, we want to reach political parties, social agents and the general public our framework of proposals for the construction of a more just, democratic and sustainable economy.. 

CATALUNYA : XES launches an SSE campaign in municipalities

GREECE : DOCK launches a Fair Times campaign in Greece

In Greece, through this campaign, we want to inform candidates about the impact of unfair production and consumption policies, not only on a global scale, but also on the interactions with reality in Greece. As the United Nations SDGs demonstrate, social, economic and environmental problems are universal. This universalism requires a concerted commitment to the implementation of coherent policies that can benefit Greek citizens, Europeans and our fellow citizens around the world.

Fair Trade Hellas and Dock are implementing the campaign in Greece. Between now and the European elections, there will be open events, information and education opportunities on the problems of a fair and inclusive economy and on how to defend these problems. In addition, we call on all Members of Parliament to be informed of the issues of the campaign, to join us in discussing how they can also be part of a pan-European campaign that concerns all of us in our country.

On Friday 10 May at 6.30 pm at Impact Hub (Athens), we invite you to a day dedicated to fair trade!

More info:https://dock.zone/anakoinoseis-infopoint/i-panevropaiki-kampania-fair-times-ksekina-stin-ellada/

Resources special edition European Elections (in collaboration with socioeco.org)

What does the documentation on public policies in favour of the social and solidarity economy at European level say?

Among the issues that are included in the documentation under the keyword: The social economy in the European Union (EU), we can mention: sustainable development, social justice, immigration, European funds for SSE, integration enterprises and public procurement, social entreprises, cooperatives, new wealth indicators..

But also:

the Role of territories

Culture

Agroecology

For a global view of SSE Public Policies at the European level :

Or

propositions

Have a good reading !

A cartoon video on the European Investment Bank (EIB)
Call to reform the EIB

Counter Balance has produced a cartoon video on the European Investment Bank (EIB), aimed at raising awareness among EU citizens about the bank, its challenges and room for improvements. The video also contains a call for action, to collect citizens’ support on our EIB Reform Manifesto, addressed to the EU election candidates and the next European Parliament.

The video is in English and has so far been subtitled in 8 EU languages.

Popmind: defending and promoting human rights in France
February 27, 2019
0
popmind2019

At the initiative of the UFISC (Federal Union for the Intervention of Cultural Structures) and of all its member organizations, more than twenty networks of professional actors in the field artistic, cultural, social, solidarity International, Citizenship, Solidarity economy co-organize three days of reflection and debate. This event named POPMIND will bring together more than 300 people, professionals, academics, citizens and public partners with a red thread: defending and putting human rights to work for today and tomorrow.

This event will take place from March 19th to March 21st, 2019 in Rouen (1h30 of Paris).

In March, upstream of the European elections, these days will allow us to share our concerns, our analyses and our recommendations to think of a declaration of our initiatives on the issue of European construction.  You can find the program here (in French only for the moment, sorry).

Preparing the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies
FSMET meeting

Barcelona, 5, 6 and 7 April 2019. The organising committee is working full steam for the preparatory meeting event – one year ahead of the Forum, that will take place in 2020 – in which each transformative economy movement will develop dynamics aimed at specifying the objectives and priorities to be worked on and broadening the scope of the entities involved. The expected outcome is to have a consensus on the main “transformative actions” and convergence tracks, the governance model will be validated and the next steps to be followed will be marked out.

Participants to the meeting are invited organisations linked to the different movements, representatives of networks and social movements , both locally and internationally, between all those initiatives, movements and ways of understanding the economy that have as a common objective: the construction of a real alternative of transformation of the current capitalist economic and financial system.

We want to make this Forum a meeting place. We do not want to limit ourselves to the celebration of a showcase event where only experts speak, but to discuss together what kind of economy we want. Nor do we just want to discuss and dream that “other possible world”, because we know that it already exists. through thousands of initiatives that build alternatives. We want to find common strategies to make ourselves visible, articulate and to multiply.

We work for sustainability, so that it has continuity beyond of the 2020 Forum, both locally and internationally. To do this, it remains to be ensured that this process is built from the territories and generates spaces for face-to-face and virtual articulation at the local level.

We want to make the transformative economies known and reach out to all. To achieve this, we believe that it is necessary for the Forum to have a network of independent, like-minded media that can disseminate the process, and ensure a multiplier effect.

More information will be available soon at http://transformadora.org

GSEF2018: RIPESS and REAS Euskadi present the Declaration for a Transformative SSE
Declaration Transformative SSE Bilbao

Within the framework of the GSEF2018 (Global Social Economy Forum) in Bilbao on the 2nd of October 2018, RIPESS and REAS Euskadi have launched the Declaration for a Transformative Social and Solidarity Economy. The statement comes when it is the thenth anniversary since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the trigger that ignited the biggest financial crisis even known.

The outbreak of the financial crisis in September 2008 placed capitalism at the centre of all citizen’s criticism. However, in these ten years the much-awaited and necessary changes have not occurred. Quite the contrary: the processes of financialization of the economy have increased, its speculative character has strengthened and, above all, the poverty and inequality rates on the planet have grown significantly.

Therefore, the statement wants to “raise the voice to denounce capitalism that commodifies and threatens our lives and our planet. It is a hetero-patriarcal capitalism that promotes discrimination against women and excludes diversity “.

In this way, the people, organizations and networks of SEE present at GSEF 2018 commit themselves through this declaration to “working together with other social movements for the transformation of the economy through alternative and social initiatives in the areas of finance, production, marketing and consumption. By transforming the economy, we transform territories and communities and thus promote a new cultural, social and political model”.

With this initiative, a commitment is made to a transforming social and solidarity-based economy at the service of a New World that is more just, respectful, democratic and sustainable. It is now a question of joining forces, and all existing practices, to build and impose an Inclusive Global Agenda from the Local to the International, and show that we have answers and proposals to overcome today’s huge global challenges.

In the act of launching the declaration, the World Social Forum of the Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020 has also been presented to the people attending the GSEF 2018.

You can consult the Declaration for a transforming Social and Solidarity Economy here.

The debt shackles are off: watch Greek social enterprises go!
kalo SSE in Greece

[by Antonis Vorloou | former Secretary of SSE of the Greek government]

This article which appeared in the Thomson Reuters Foundations News (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) is published with the Author’s consent.

Debt laden Greek consumers have been forced to choose cheap but with the economy improving, will they ‘buy social’?

Decades of crony capitalism and regulatory capture have left Greek productivity crippled, eroded trust between the state and the citizens and – most disturbingly – everyone has placed “self-interest” above all else. The 2009 debt crisis revealed in the most shocking way the deficiencies of the “system” with unemployment sky rocketing to unprecedented levels (28% by 2013) and purchasing power reduced by over 25%. A social economy has been successfully proposed in many countries as an alternative to the market economy, yet in Greece it was first introduced during the early years of the crisis and was mostly regarded as a policy tool to restrain growing unemployment.

Some also had the controversial expectation that it could be a way to shrink the public sector by outsourcing to social enterprises. The economic outlook was especially distressing during the period of the euro zone’s debt relief measures for Greece, due to the shrinking demand triggered by dwindling purchasing power. In such an environment the competitive advantage lays with the enterprise which can cut costs and prices and not with the one which integrate a social premium into their products.

For this new way of doing business to be successful, two ingredients are essential – an enabling environment and a culture of contributing to the society. In a growing economy, aided by policy measures, a social economy can thrive and be regarded as an employer of choice, given the reward of doing something good and worthwhile for the society. Fast forward to today. Post bailout, unemployment has dropped below 20%, the minimum wage is on the rise and an air of normalcy is returning to the economy. The ability of workers to choose their employer is increasing and the purchasing power of consumers is on the rise giving them the opportunity to choose not just the cheapest product, but also one that has social added value.

The Greek government, which views a Social and Solidarity Economy as the new paradigm for aligning the interests of the market to those of the society, has introduced a new legal framework for social enterprises in 2016. This expanded the previous definition of Social and Solidarity Economy entities beyond Social Cooperative Enterprises, which were first introduced in 2011 and includes Workers Cooperatives – a new legal form – as well as all other types of entities which have a social purpose, democratic governance and limited distribution of profits. This has given a boost to the sector which includes more than eleven hundred organisations, half of them created during the last 18 months, with a combined turnover of over 10 million euros and employing over a thousand workers as well as mobilizing numerous volunteers.

To strengthen this dynamism, an ambitious plan to provide a supporting environment for the development of new and existing Social and Solidarity Economy actors is also implemented. The plan, which has a budget of over 170 million euros for the next five years, includes business development services, financial support through grants and state backed loans and a multitude of dissemination actions.

Creating a culture of giving and building trust, on the other hand, needs a more subtle and systematic approach.  Efforts to that end are being made in order to mobilize dormant societal forces so that this type of mentality becomes visible and eventually mainstream. These include the promotion of social impact measurement as well as cooperation with international organisations of the sector – such as RIPESS – in order to identify and implement new and innovative actions.

A Social and Solidarity Economy in Greece is still young but with the boost it will be given from governmental policies, together with the improving economic outlook post bailout, it has the potential to create a new way of doing business which is aligned with the interests of the many.

Antonis Vorloou is the former Special Secretary for the Social and Solidarity Economy law, which recognises different kinds of social enterprises in Greece.

GSEF2018: Bilbao welcomes the Cities promoting SSE

The Capital of the Basque Country – Bilbao – is hosting the 4the edition of the Global Social Economy Forum, GSEF2018, from the 1st to the 3rd of October. The title of the Forum is: ‘Social economy and cities – Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development”. The GSEF that was initiated by the City of Seoul in 2013, in collaboration with its local social economy partners, is an international network that brings together local governments and civil society stakeholders committed to supporting the development of the Social Economy (SE).. In 2016 it took place in Montreal, Canada, and RIPESS participated and became a member. This year the RIPESS delegation is quite large, coming from all continents, and present in several sessions.

REAS – through REAS Euskadi, the local network – has been part of the organising committee and has involved many solidarity economy actors at the local level.

On the 2nd of October, REAS Euskadi, XES and RIPESS are organising a special moment dedicated to present the “Declaration for a transformative Social Solidarity Economy” and the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies.

The programme and key speakers are available on the GSEF website.

 

The 4 SSE projects of the French government

We open this letter on the news of the (French) government which, as we mentioned in the editorial of the month of January, leads four projects in connection with the Social and Solidarity Economy.

On 18 January, we were able to attend the inauguration of #FrenchIMPACT, the national accelerator for social innovation, and the launch of the first “Pionniers French Impact” call for projects whose objective is to build the showcase of socially innovative entrepreneurs. A call for applications will be launched in March to build the French ecosystem of social innovation and experiment with local accelerators on pilot territories, before the extension of the device on the whole national territory in 2019. It is clear that the stated objective is to support, far beyond the associations, mutuals and foundations, any company which, by its activity innovates socially by making it possible to reach quantifiable social objectives generating savings for the public expenses. It is a vision of social innovation reduced to the sole measure of social impact, but a vision that seems to bring together several members of the government, since three ministers surrounded Christophe Itier for this launch.

A vision that is consistent with the Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Enterprises (PACTE) and the announcement of the mission entrusted to Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Senard on “business and general interest”. As we announced, this topic raises questions from the actors of the ESS who are mobilizing to value the contribution and the experience of SSE on this subject. Michel Prugue, president of Coop de France, said in an article published in Up Magazine this February 8: “Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon model of “B.CORP “, these companies” mission “would be more citizen-based, more modern, more committed … more human! Indeed, a business can be governed by something other than the rapid return on capital and the short-term profit of its shareholders; the people who compose it can be respected, their participation can be valued; the long term can be protected in the name of the collective interests of today’s women and men and their children, and the children of their children. All this may seem extremely innovative, but for us, it’s our daily life though being sometimes … very old companies! See also on this point the forums published in the monthly letter n ° 117 of CIRIEC and in particular that of Jean Gatel who was Secretary of State, in charge of the Social Economy.

If the Movement for the Solidarity Economy (MESà conceives / understands this desire to moralize the lucrative enterprises to tend towards a more ethical capitalism, we remain vigilant so that the notion of general interest is not distorted. We remain above all mobilized to defend the diversity of citizen dynamics working for a transition towards a more solidarity-based, more just and more sustainable society. If, as stated by Les Echos, a majority of bosses would be favorable to companies with a mission to see a new opportunity for companies to go further in the CSR and to go beyond the green or the social washing, why not propose to these companies to meet the obligations imposed today by the ESUS approval, it would already be a great step forward.

(Extract from the editorial of the MES – Movement for the Solidarity Economy – of the February 2018 newsletter)

See the full text (in French) here.

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