Preparatory workshop for the First European Forum of Social and Solidarity Economy
TOWARDS THE 1st EUROPEAN FORUM ON SOCIAL AND SOLIDARITY ECONOMY
Last May, the European United Left / Nordic Confederation Group (GUE / NGL) decided to turn its traditional support to the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) into one of its main strategic processes.
As an alternative proposal to the dominant economic-productive model, the SSE understands the economy not as a goal but as a tool to reach personal and community welfare and development. Integrating economic activities centered on people, their community and the environment, the SSE affects not only the way the production is carried on but all the aspects of the economic process, promoting fairer relations of production, a different approach to the goods distribution process, encouraging responsible consumption and even shifting the traditional schemes of financing activities.
The SSE consists of cooperatives, associations, social enterprises and associations of informal workers, other grassroots groups and individuals which are all guided by principles of justice, democracy, cooperation, reciprocity, mutual aid and sustainability. The economic importance of the SSE is beyond any doubt, representing over 14 million jobs (6.5% of total employment in the EU) and having proved to be extraordinary resilient to the impacts of the crisis concerning unemployment. It is a booming sector, which generates qualitative benefits, which although difficult to be measured, have the potential to improve the quality of democracy while proposing frames of production and reproduction more compatible with more just and sustainable societies.
Therefore, the GUE / NGL has set as one of its main goals for 2016 the organisation of the First European Forum of Social and Solidarity Economy (1EFSSE), aiming at promoting an exchange of experiences among the different experiences of the SSE in Europe. It will try to highlight the problems faced by the sector, as well as its potential in tackling the crisis effects. Specific actions of political impact will be proposed intended to foster the consolidation and expansion of the SSE within the EU. In order to trigger the organisational processes leading to the 1EFSSE, a First Preparatory meeting has been convened to be held on the 3 rd September in the European Parliament’s premises.
More than thirty participants belonging to the Social and Solidarity networks from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Germany and Belgium are expected to collectively design the big event that will take place in January 2016.