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Financing the social economy enterprises
August 21, 2015

Meeting of the Social Economy intergroup of the European Parliament: «Financing the social economy enterprises»

More than 100 people gathered at the European Parliament for this meeting devoted to the financing of social economy enterprises relying on co-operative banks, insurance mutuals and cooperatives, ethical banks, micro-credit institutions, etc.

A first round table brought together institutional interlocutors. The Minister of labour, employment and solidarity economy, Nicolas Schmit, of Luxembourg – who animates the Presidency of the EU during the 2nd half of 2015, invited the Commission to relaunch the Social Investment Package, i.e. the package of measures on social investments in growth and cohesion (2013).

Detlef Eckert, Director of Europe 2020, DG Employment, stated that the Commission supported the social economy through the programme for employment and Social Innovation (with a 3rd axis on social entrepreneurship, the European Social Fund and the European Investment Bank).

The MEP Beatriz Becerra (ALDE, Es) instead deplored the lack of visibility of the social economy. Anna Maria Darmarin, Member of the EESC, group II (workers) also emphasized the lack of a consensual framework for social economy, that discourages long-term investors.

Hugues Sibille, member of the Expert Group of the Committee for social enterprise, stated that it is necessary to integrate the social economy in the European strategy for the internal market, including giving greater legal recognition to social enterprises.

In the second panel (composed only by men), based on the structures of the social economy, Jan Olsson, co-Chairman of the REVES network, presented a case of good practice for the construction of ecosystems, in Sweden and in Italy, to support new social enterprises (see http://3e4se.eu).

Emamuele Spina, head of European Affairs at Federcasse (Italian cooperative bank) attempted to show how his bank did much for the social economy, while Christophe Ollivier, head of the “Centre of support for mutual companies” of the Fédération Nationale de la Mutualité française raised the problem of the existing legal brakes that prevent mutuals from investing in social economy enterprises.
(for issues of compulsory reinsurance and investment oriented towards marketsconsidered safer). Bruno Dunkel, Manager of CoopEst, presented the activities they develop by emphasizing the small size but proximity model, and thus essential, thus interacting mainly with small enterprises of social economy in the Eastern European countries, announcing an upcoming similar tool for the Mediterranean.

There was also the question of how to boost research on the social impact measurement tools and support the “Social Impact Bonds”. The latter being controversial (should we support profitable social projects?), should be considered if one can imagine a European vision of these obligations.

Alain Coheur, concluded the meeting by recalling its attachment to the concept of social economy which includes principles limiting surpluses and for democratic governance (which are not found in all social enterprises)..

This is therefore a meeting that will find a follow-up in a conference being organized in Luxembourg in December, with  a greater place for ethical banks, solidarity financial tools and complementary currencies systems and why not firmer commitments on the part of large banks of the social economy.

IDEARIA 2015 in Cordoba

The 12th edition of the alternative economy and solidarity meeting took place at the Institute of education secondary Maimonides in Cordoba from April 30 to May 2rd May 2015. RIPESS EU was represented by ADEPES MIDI-PYRENES. The meeting was organized by IDEAS, the biggest fair trade structure in Spain.

Alternative economy and solidarity? Words that sound really impacting for European SSE actor like us, engaged in the development of a solidarity territory. Cordoba is the historical melting pot place for Spanish solidarity economy actors. The meeting was a great opportunity for RIPESS Europe to build new covenant. Indeed, the attendees have found enough similarities to consider joint work with the new European framework INTEREG funds. A meeting between Spain and France is expected during the next few months.

REAS, the Spanish “network of networks” of solidarity economy actors (XES Catalonia, REAS Andalusia, REAS Castille, REAS, Aragon, REAS Navarre, REAS Euskadi,…) held its Annual General Meeting and celebrate its 20 years. Just a few months before the French Solidarity Economy Mouvement’s (MES) National Congress, which will be held on the 12th and 13th June 2015, in Toulouse and will also celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Moreover, we note a very similar strategy when it comes to social auditing, responsible purchasing or social market (two concepts worth to be compared), the development sectors (tourism, agriculture, environment), social innovation, cooperatives and ethical finance.

It seems very significant for RIPESS EU to get involved with our partners in the territories on sharing and raising our political vision of the solidarity economy alternative as a strong movement of economic transformation models.

Daniel Tygel intervention, RIPESS intercontinental former executive secretary, was very impressive. He declared: “Solidarity Economy is not so much a sector but a deep movement of our society and citizens, who created “Buen Vivir” and new trends on work cooperation models, services and goods, culture, education and environment.”


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