As the President of ENSIE – the European network for Work Integration Social Enterprises, we attended this conference and provide a brief report here.
The conference in San Sebastián was opened by Secretary of State for Employment and Social Economy Joaquin Pérez, who emphasized the significance of the social economy, accounting for 10% of the Spanish GDP, with a focus on democratic principles and well-being.
Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, reflected on the achievements made and highlighted the need for new paradigms to address climate change and its social consequences, with the social economy as a guarantor of solidarity.
Eneko Goia, Mayor of Donostia-San Sebastián, and Elena Perez, regional Deputy Minister for Employment and Social Security of the Basque Government, discussed the importance of social inclusion and the role of the social economy in transformation processes. Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of Social Economy Europe, called for the strengthening of the social economy model.
The panel emphasized the conditions for collaboration between entrepreneurship and social outcomes, focusing on community and policy. Oliver Röpke of the EESC celebrated the solidarity emphasized by the speakers, and Mia Seppo from the ILO discussed the importance of the informal economy and its strengthening through SSE.
Finally, Nicolas Schmit pointed out the proximity of the SE action plan to other EU initiatives aimed at sustainability and the local economy, and the importance of simplifying financing to combat prejudices against a subsidized economy.
We observe that the efforts from European policy are bearing fruit. The social economy is a growing sector that, above all, is becoming increasingly social. The importance of well-being and democracy for all involved has been emphasized time and again, and the movement is growing stronger and stronger.