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A Green Pact for Europe ?

A new pact is needed to ensure that citizens, in all their diversity, national, regional and local authorities, civil society and business work hand in hand with the EU institutions and advisory bodies.
The intention is to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
The declaration of intent is commendable. However, when looking at the proposals set out in the Green Pact for Europe, by the European Commission, one remains perplexed by the lack of mention of a paradigm shift in the economy. It talks about 50 measures focused on economic planning to take into account the threat of climate change and their variations according to 7 areas of action

  1. Clean, carbon-free energy.
  2. A sustainable industry.
  3. A cleaner construction and renovation sector.
  4. Sustainable mobility: The promotion of more sustainable means of transport (e.g. Accompanied combined transport).
  5. Preserved or restored biodiversity.
  6. Ensuring a more sustainable food chain from agriculture to consumption with the Farm to Fork (F2F) project.
  7. Elimination of pollution

Frans Timmermans (photo), Vice-President of the Commission responsible for the Green Pact presented it to MEPs, saying that “it will take investments of €260-300 billion per year – public and especially private – to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050”, i.e. no less than 25% of the EU budget and 1.5% of the Union’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Nowhere is there any reference to the role of the SSE, as underlined by Pour la Solidarité in a document issued in February (in French). Once again, the contribution of the solidarity economy to ecological transition and social justice is overlooked because, although citizens are included in certain chapters among those who must participate in this “colossal” effort (sic), nowhere is it mentioned that specific attention and support will be given to the companies and associations that are already implementing on the ground the pious wishes set out in this pact. Mention is made of the circular economy, but nothing is said about the existing forms that already meet the specifications proposed by the Green Pact.

Whether clean energy (Enercoop), sustainable industry (cooperatives, including those that save jobs by recovering the work tool thanks to employees who join forces), construction (ecological housing), mobility (SSE is at the forefront of promoting soft mobility), preservation of biodiversity (fight against major projects that are useless for saving biotopes), CSAs and AMAPs for short food circuits, waste disposal, etc., the Green Pact does not mention the circular economy, but nothing about the existing forms that already meet the specifications proposed by the Green Pact. It is these initiatives that the EU should better support by increasing the share of the ESF and ERDF allocated to the solidarity economy and not only to the social economy, which is not the poor relation in this area. It is the dynamics of innovation that should be encouraged in all areas involved in the transition.

The Pact mentions education and training. The Commission will develop a European framework of competences to contribute to the development and assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to climate change and sustainable development.
RIPESS and its members are currently carrying out three training projects to invite SSE in initial training or that of elected representatives after having noted through a survey in the participating countries its quasi absence in training programmes. Can we expect from this new Pact a favourable reception of this work, whose recommendations we will put forward?

Subsidies on fossil fuels should be stopped. This is a good point. Its implementation is, moreover, a prerequisite for any policy to combat the damage caused by their use. It is difficult to see, however, how the Commission is going to succeed in imposing it, even if it is announced that funding is planned to support countries dependent on coal, for example. On the other hand, the citizens’ alliance can precipitate this movement, just as the consumers’ alliance for organic farming has done.
It is the role of a network to relay from the field to the institutions and vice versa the data essential to the orientation of a policy that makes sense for the evolution of society.

The Climate Pact will build on the series of dialogues with citizens and citizens’ assemblies that are underway across the EU, as well as the social dialogue committees.
The Aarhus Regulation should be revised to improve access to administrative and judicial review at EU level for citizens and NGOs who have doubts about the legality of decisions affecting the environment.
Available platforms can be used to simplify legislation and identify problematic cases.

While underlining the absence of any mention of SSE, one cannot question in advance the will to move European policy towards a decarbonised economy, but one must be vigilant to ensure that the windfall does not fall into the hands of large groups who will claim to “green” their methods when they use this funding to strengthen their supremacy at the expense of initiatives that are truly concerned with preserving the planet and social justice. It is time for Europe to encourage the multiplication of development adapted to local realities, supported by democratic assemblies where elected representatives and citizens consult and agree. The solidarity-based economy can testify to the relevance of these approaches, which succeed despite budgetary constraints and could give greater results if these obstacles were removed.

By Josette Combes

Local elections in France: citizens get involved.

In France for municipal elections, citizens are trying to thwart the old party system, which they no longer recognize as legitimate and too far removed from the social and ecological emergencies that concern them.

On the initiative of a few at the outset, they are creating alternative lists that no longer bring together the usual nomination candidates but citizens who come together on a project developed through consultations and meetings. In the end, the democratic exercise leads to the accession of a sufficient number of people to validate a list.

The website of the collective Action commune thus lists 157 participatory lists, “one third in villages of less than 2,000 inhabitants, one third in municipalities of 2,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, and one third in cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants”, says Thomas Simon, coordinator of the group, whose mission is to “accompany those who want to engage in citizen participation” (Reporterre 8 January 2020). An interactive map of these lists can be found on the Action commune website.

If these lists are not guaranteed to win the elections, they are an electric shock to the parties. They question the undemocratic methods of governing, by challenging the habits of verticality where the leader decides and surrounds himself with people who are committed to his cause. They highlight themes that the parties feel obliged to include in their programmes.

In addition, several associations have drafted proposals that they circulate in their networks for their members to take up and transmit to their elected officials.

Thus, the Collectif de la Transition citoyenne (Citizen Transition Collective) has drawn up a Pact for Transition inviting local networks to ask candidates to commit to at least 10 of the 32 proposals and to accompany / verify their implementation in the territories. The central objective of these proposals is to respond to the climate emergency and to repair social injustice.

The RTES (Réseau des Territoires pour l’Economie Solidaire) has published a municipal kit’ess containing about twenty sheets to support the initiative of municipalities towards more SSE in their local policy.

The UFISC (Union Fédérale d’Intervention des Structures Culturelles) proposes to the candidates and all those committed to their territories, arts and culture, 3 commitments declined through 20 concrete proposals (…) for a policy of cultural diversity based on cultural rights and a democratic and solidarity organisation.

Reporterre has also published its illustrated list of recommendations, this list is not exhaustive.

We are really witnessing an awakening of citizens to the negligence of governments blinded by their subservience to economic powers. The Spanish example and “municipalismo” infuse much of Europe and RIPESS , for whom the co-construction of public policies is a major axis of social transformation, is very happy about it.

Article written by Josette Combes

CSA is Growing Big in the Netherlands!

By Klarien Klingen, Dutch CSA Farmer

CSA is growing big in the Netherlands! Five years ago there were only five initiatives, now there are over 90. In Flanders part of Belgium, where the same language is used as the Netherlands, the CSA network is a bit more advanced: their formal association has been existing for several years now and many CSA initiatives as well. 170 Dutch and Flemish CSA farmers and members met for the yearly CSA meeting in Deventer, NL, on the 11th and 12th of January 2020.

When we sat over dinner we discovered that the Flanders people find it very usual to ask a membership fee of 350euros per person per year to participate in a CSA initiative, where the dutch think €250 is normal. It’s just great to be able to discover those differences, speculate on where they come from (is the climate different 300 kms more north? Is that why the Flanders people can produce more veggies throughout winter?), and learn from each other.

The topic of membership fee came up several times through the weekend. It was very new for the participants of the workshop ‘CSA and solidarity’ to hear about ‘the Freiburg’ model where members put the price they’re willing to pay on a note, everything is added up, and if the total sum is not enough to cover the total costs of production (including labor!), another round will follow.

In the same workshop a new idea was presented: what if we ask members to pay for one week of vegetables the money they make in 1 hour. This could provide a whole new way of looking at pricing: the money is not related to vegetables but to labor. And the price people have to pay is very much adapted to their own capacity to pay. Let’s see where this will go.

Land is a big topic in the Netherlands, where a piece of arable land costs on average €100.000 per hectare to buy. This makes it very difficult to pay for with normal primary production. CSA can offer better opportunities of course, but to build up soil and to build up a network of members long term access to land is a prerequisite. One of the farmers of the plenary session finds it unjust is people make money over land, just by owning it. He believes money should be made over labor and not over ownership. With a group of people he bought land and together they now work on how to formalize this land free from profit.

CSA Netherlands/Flanders is a vibrant community that is developing fast and enthusiastically. We can’t wait to meet CSA initiatives to together learn and together work on our common dream: food sovereignty for all!

RIPESS contributes to GSEF’s – Global Social Economy Forum – policy dialogues in Europe and Latin America
GSEF Liverpool UK November 2019

The GSEF Regional Policy Dialogues are organized to promote the exchange of knowledge between policy-makers and key SSE actors. RIPESS has participated in both dialogues with the objective of contributing to the promotion of SSE and bringing the vision of local SSE projects to international fora.

RIPESS EU joined the 3rd edition of the European Policy Dialogue organised by Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), our long term partners and collaborators.

This year, the Dialogue took place in Liverpool, United Kingdom, between the 18th and 19th of November 2019, around the theme ‘Building diversity and inclusion through the social solidarity economy’. A rich and open debate took place around this theme with a specific focus on 3 major topics:

  • How local governments must proceed with new approaches to create true inclusion
  • Moving beyond inclusion through innovative work-integration practices and policies
  • Social and Solidarity Economy: a driving force in enabling diverse future leaders

As RIPESS EU, we presented our work based mostly on the third topic, but of course with connection to all important SSE areas. Regarding the location of this year GSEF event, it was organized in partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and the University of Liverpool. And they were quite amazing hosts.

The day after the conference they organized an SSE actors tour across the city. Liverpool City Region is indeed a dynamic and vibrant SSE scene where they employ over 40,000 people in SSE organizations. We visited  Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre , main local spot for community activism, Baltic Creative CIC ,a unique area for gathering start-up and creative industries with huge focus on ownership and sharing, and Homebaked Bakery and Community Land Trust, a place of inspiration, with the best pie in the world and an amazing struggle against gentrification and speculative capital assault on land and houses.

Written by Alfonso Cotera (RIPESS LAC) and Drazen Simlesa (RIPESS EU)

Ripess Europe’s 2020 objectives: back to the main lines of action
A local newspaper headlines "A workshop preparing Tomorrow"

From the 16th to the 18th of January, the Ripess Europe CoCo (Coordination committee) met in Elne, in the beautiful region of the French Eastern Pyrenees. Near the snow-capped mountains, the team (braving the train strikes) spent three days brainstorming about the overall strategy orientations for the network on the long-term and on Ripess Europe’s areas of focus in 2020.

In such a context of climate crisis, where social benchmarks are only hanging by a thread, the role of RIPESS Europe in promoting social solidarity economy at the European level is more important than ever. The strategic axes for 2020 have therefore been established following this observation.

As a first step, Ripess Europe aims at promoting territorial ecosystems and supporting the emergence of new networks.

In order to do so, it will be necessary to support the valorisation of local experiences, the networking at European level, the development of new networks and economic intercooperation.

In addition to this first strategic line, it goes without saying that the promotion of the social and solidarity economy through its development and recognition remains a priority for the year 2020. This objective can be implemented through various actions such as the co-construction of public policies, but also through advocacy and media communication.

The concretisation of these strategic directions will be achieved through different thematic initiatives such as education (Erasmus), impact assessment, the implementation of tools (mapping) or information on the initiatives and local events of the network members.

Alongside their work program, the Coco members did not miss the chance to discover and meet with local initiatives such as André and his team “perm-AMAP 66”, working in a permaculture garden and CSA in Elne and selling delicious veggies! Without forgetting the discovery of Terra del Avis, this eco-museum which should soon open its doors in Elne and whose mission will be to preserve, maintain and transmit the agricultural heritage of Roussillon and to promote a sustainable agriculture of proximity.

National CSA Meeting in Norway

The CSA movement in Norway is growing larger year by year. As per December 2019 there are 82 active CSAs in Norway. Given that Norway is a small country with only around 5,3 million inhabitants and around 3 % of the land area being suitable for agriculture, the number of CSAs is relatively high compared to our neighbouring countries. Each year the informal network gathers to get the latest update on the CSA model in Norway and to learn and be inspired by best practices from each other.

Yearly meeting on November 15th in Oslo

The most important event for CSAs in Norway is the national meeting organised by Organic Norway, coordinating the informal network of CSAs. In total 60 people were gathered for inspiration, updates, new knowledge and networking. In total 21 of the CSAs where represented, often with 2-3 persons from each CSA. Most Norwegian CSAs produce vegetables, but a few also have meat and dairy production. 4.300 shares were sold at Norwegian CSAs in 2018, with almost 9500 people eating from those shares.

On the agenda

The day started with greetings from the two farmer unions organizing all farmers in Norway. The head of the small-scale farmers’ union said: “CSAs are good arenas for knowledge building for consumers who are concerned about food production, where the food comes from and how much work which is required to succeed with food production! These consumers represent an important alliance for us working in agriculture”.

Other topics being discussed was how to secure a sustainable economy, and how to work with recruiting members to CSAs and how to succeed with communication within the CSA. There was also talks about two recent research projects and information about ongoing work on how to involve dairy- and meat production in the CSA model.

Networking and experience sharing

There is a wide range of different CSAs in Norway, but there is always a lot to learn from each other. Many Norwegian CSAs are consumer-organized and hire a gardener for vegetable production in or near cities, whereas others are based around an already-existing traditional farm with large-scale production combined with a small number of shareholders. Others have developed their farm into a marked garden growing a variety of crops and having consumers taking part of sharing the risk. It is always very useful to work in groups and exchange practices and ideas during the national network meeting. After the formal program, most of the participants joined for organic vegetarian pizza and continued socializing through the evening.

(Front picture: Group work, discussing communication strategies in Norwegian CSAs. Photo Credit: Organic Norway)

Article from Urgenci, by Alexandra Devik, Organic Norway

Independant media talk about SSE

Cover picture of Bastamag, November 29, 2019 “Vieillir autrement”

Independent media are close to the SSE, often by their status and especially by the values they defend. But how do they approach it? Here is a selection of independent media articles from the last three months. You can also find them on the map of socioeco.org: Journalism of Solutions (the articles are located in the city where the experience is taking place or, in the case of a general article, in the city where the media is based).

As you will see, the articles are in their original language, due to the diversity of European countries. This will allow you to perceive which themes are covered by these media: sustainable development, refugees, self-management, cooperatives, organic agriculture, etc. Feel free to send us an article or a media site to improve the map and our knowledge of SSE. Write to Françoise Wautiez: fwautiez[at]socioeco.org


  • Pour « bien vieillir », des retraités conçoivent leur propre habitat coopératif et écologique – Sophie Chapelle , Article de BastaMag, 29 novembre 2019 [lire]
  • Quel bilan pour Territoires zéro chômeur de longue durée  ? – Article de ATD Quart Monde, 2019 [lire]
  • En Bosnie, une coopérative de femmes efface les traces de la guerre Louis Seiller – Article de Reporterre, 4 novembre 2019 [lire]


  • Cultura i cooperativisme, una aliança fèrtil, Carles Masià – Articulo de EL Critic, 22/12/2019 [lire]
  • El camí cap a la transformació social – Article de coopcamp.cat, 17/01/2020 [lire]


  • Resiliencia urbana, MARES y marejadas, José Luis Fernández Casadevante – Articulo de El diario.es, 25/11/2019 [lire]
  • Diez titulares sobre economía solidaria que no verás en la prensa económica, Lourdes Jiménez – Articulo de el salto diario, 22/11/2019 [lire]
  • La oportunidad transformadora de las Comunidades de Energía Alfonso García – Articulo del Salto Diario, 13/01/2020 [lire]


  • What are ‘the commons’ in the 21st century? Interview with Pat Conaty – Article of lowimpact.org, 2019 [lire]
  • How millions of French shoppers are rejecting cut-price capitalism Jon Henley – Article of The Guardian, 04/12/2019 [lire]
  • Singapore’s co-operative movement – a thriving sector for over 90 years , Anca Voinea – Article of thenews.coop, 2 January2020 [lire]
A renewed Social Economy Europe Intergroup
Event Photography by Dani Oshi. Constitutive meeting of the Social Economy Intergroup at the European Parliament. Assignment for Social Economy Europe. Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Brussels, Belgium.

With the last EU elections, the inter-parlamentary group of Social Economy ended its term and a new inter-group had to be formed.  As RIPESS Europe, we supported the campaign led by Social Economy Europe for the renewal of the  bringing on board some of the newly elected MEPs and not just a repeat of past ones. In the communication we sent last October, we advocated  for a much more ambitious agenda, a transformative agenda, that would take into consideration not just sectoral issues (like reforms of the third sector, business models, job creation or public procurement that includes social economic enterprises), but a more structural change in trade, cooperation, climate and environmental justice, as well as in finance. And since the term Social Solidarity Economy and Finance has now been widely adopted at all levels of the United Nations, as well as local and national framework legislation), we proposed this term should be harmonised and become an integral part of the renewal of the Intergroup and it’s Action Plan.

With the new EU Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioners like Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg, Jobs) and the European Green Deal agenda for a stronger social Europe and just transitions (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/fs_20_49), we feel there is now some hope of pushing for a more transformative agenda. We would like the Integroup to truly represent this hope, ambition and engagement. We are committed to working collectively on these issues, involving a much larger movement than the SSE, which is also expanding fast (including in Central and Eastern European countries) and with contacts with MEPs in several European countries.Here is the news about the first meeting of the new integroup (from Social Economy Europe).

Article from Social Economy Europe

On Tuesday 21st January 2020, the first internal meeting of the renewed Social Economy Intergroup (SEIG) took place at the European Parliament in Brussels to appoint the co-Chairs and vice-Chairs of the Intergroup and to draw up a strategy for the next five years.

Five Members of the European Parliament were appointed as Co-Chairs of the SEIG, among whom, Patrizia Toia (S&D, IT), Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA, DE), Leopoldo López (EPP, ES), Monica Semedo (Renew, LU) and Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL, FR). Furthermore, the Intergroup appointed MEPs Leszek Miller (S&D, PL) and Jordi Cañas (Renew, ES) as vice-Chairs and agreed to appoint three more respectively from the EPP, the Greens/EFA and the GUE/NGL, in the coming weeks.

Also, the Intergroup agreed on a strategy for the next five years. At a moment in which the European Commission has just announced the launch of a European Action Plan for the Social Economy in 2021, in its communication on “A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions”, the SEIG aims to cooperate with President Von der Leyen, Vice-President Dombrovskis, and Commissioners Schmit and Breton in co-designing an effective policy, that will play a key role in building an economy that works for people and the planet.

By Jason Nardi

Occitania mobilizes for the WSFTE in Barcelona

In Occitania (France) a 2-day Forum on 22 and 23 November at the Jean Jaurès University in Toulouse brought together about 90 SSE structures, 4 local authorities and 4 SSE networks. The programme included 5 conferences, 4 convergence circles and 16 workshops. About 20 speakers contributed to the conferences, including 7 researchers.

The 1500 or so visitors came from different backgrounds (Political Sciences Bordeaux, Terre de Convergences in the Gard, Delegation of Marseille), a national and an international network and four representatives of local institutions. Forty stands presented SSE actors from Occitania. Twenty volunteers ensured the fluidity of the logistics and three restaurateurs (Ludi Monde, Curupira and the Kasbah) allowed the participants to take their meals, even if the attendance exceeded the forecasts. More than 250 young students took part in the round tables and various workshops. Finally, a concert with a Franco-Brazilian singer offered a joyful interlude. She provided the translation for the speech by Monica Benicio, Mariella Franco’s companion, a militant who was assassinated on 15 March 1918 in Rio de Janeiro (whose assassins are not likely to be prosecuted as long as Bolsonaro is in power).

There was a great participation of volunteers and visitors in this comfortable and accessible place with a lot of available space, a good animation of the actors’ circles, a rich and quality programming. In particular the Flashlab (presentation of initiatives in progress or brand new), its format, its richness, the exchanges were a success.

It is necessary to underline the energy given by the Barcelona perspective, the international dimension, the crossing of the 4 themes, the quality of the conferences. All in all, it was a joyful event, full of emulation, rich in emotion, particularly the speech by Monica Benicio during the conference on eco-feminism presenting the situation in Brazil.

This Forum was part of the mobilization cycle for the Barcelona WSFTE.

The next dates in Occitania related to the convergence towards the WSFTE and transformative economies are the following: two public political events – ex-Languedoc territory with Terre de Convergences, Démocratie Ouverte, La Région Citoyenne – ex-Midi Pyrénées territory; – an economic and feminist event in Toulouse (21 March); an event with the UFISC in Gignac on 30 May; two dates to be fixed in Ariège and Aude; – an agroecological event – ex-Languedoc territory; – an event in Haute-Garonne with FREDD (Film, Research and Sustainable Development).

The MES Occitanie is planning to produce a booklet using materials from FRESS (theory + feedback from the actors) which would promote transformative economies in the Occitanie region.

The creation of an Occitan delegation to represent the region at the WSFTE with citizens, elected local authorities, SSE actors and researchers will be based on a questionnaire with many actors of the transformative economies on the Occitan territory to collect information on their practices, encourage them to come to the FSMET and to propose animations.

You can find the filmed conferences on this link. (in French)

By Josette Combes

New logo for REAS 25 years

REAS – red de redes de ECONOMIA ALTERNATIVA Y SOLIDARIA (network of networks of ALTERNATIVE AND SOLIDARITY ECONOMY) – is 25 years old and we want to share it and celebrate it with everyone, especially with all those entities and people who are part of this network, those who with their activity and practices make it possible and give us meaning.

Therefore, a year of celebrations begins where we want to share the many and rich moments that have brought us here; the debates and meetings, the proposals and actions, the successes and errors…, everything that, in short, makes up our trajectory. Looking at ourselves from the inside in order to re-acquaint ourselves with each other and continue to get to know each other, an indispensable step in order to continue building a common story. And celebrate. Because we have achieved so much in this quarter of a century, and this deserves a celebration in style!

As a first small action, we wanted to provide ourselves with a new logo to frame what is to come. Through a collective vote we have chosen the new logo that we present here, thanks to those who have made it possible!

Under this icon, we will include a series of meetings and actions that we are preparing for this anniversary that we hope to present soon. This is, of course, an open and participatory process, so we invite networks, organizations and individuals to propose their activities and collectively shape this program of celebration.

We therefore remain in tune with the fact that, in these 25 years of our journey, there are seeds of all the people who are part of REAS and we therefore want to celebrate it with all of them …



Article from REAS, January 2020


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