On the 28th of January the Challenging the Crisis campaign reached a new high when Irish MEP Lynn Boylan launched a campaign calling on the European Commission to designate 2018 the year of the social solidarity economy (SSE). The campaign launch took place at the European Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy which was organised by the European United Left group of MEPs (GUE/NGL). You can read more on the event hashtag #EFSSE16. This was the first European Forum on SSE and was attended by 250 participants from across the EU, including more than 20 delegates from Challenging the Crisis.
At the opening Conference MEP’s from across Europe discussed the need for a viable, economic alternative. SSE was shown to have already proven itself and the importance of the solidarity element was highlighted by Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan. Throughout the course of the day the term social and solidarity was used to describe a wide range of organisations that are different from typical businesses but one thing they all had in common was the economic and social objectives they shared. Examples ranged from both North and South of the equator and included non-profit NGOs, local help groups for youths as well as local and large co-op’s engaged in revenue generating.
The Challenging the Crisis team hosted the 7th workshop of the day with a focus on the communication techniques and training tools used by the group. Particular attention was paid to how the YGA’s had trained themselves and then how the application of communication techniques varied across the countries.
A Story about Social and Solidarity Economy was shown during the lunch break of the conference which had warmed people up to the idea of the campaign ahead of the workshop. There was also a CtC stall, which of course meant stickers, badges, cards and a wealth of literature being distributed.
Speaking at the launch Ms Boylan said:
“Today I am asking my fellow MEPs to sign up to a written declaration to show their support for the concept of dedicating 2018 to SSE.
Already several MEPs from across the political spectrum have offered their support to this project, which was initiated by Challenging the Crisis.
The written declaration urges the European Commission to advance its commitment to the SSE by assisting Member States to provide assistance to these types of by providing access to finance, raising awareness and through public procurement policies.”