AIM is the international Association of Mutual Benefit Health insurers and health funds. AIM’s members are solidarity-based, not-for profit organisations that function on the basis of a democratic governance. They are social actors providing health, sickness and other social benefits while promoting among others the respect, the inclusion and the protection of vulnerable groups.
AIM issued the statement “Time for pandemic solidarity!” calling for:
CASES reports that to face the effects caused by Covid-19, the Portuguese Government has taken exceptional measures for enterprises and other entities by providing guarantees, incentives to European programmes, special conditions for training programmes for workers and also by deferring legal obligations, contributions to Social Security, taxation, etc., that in some cases apply to social economy entities.
CASES has synthetised some important that are accessible for social economy enterprises and organisations here.
Furthermore, CASES has taken its own initiative to help collect voluntary initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. CASES’s Online Platform for Volunteering Activities which, within the scope of its competencies in the area of volunteering, created an online platform that makes voluntary initiatives from all over the country available, including movements and platforms created to respond to people who need more support. This online area will allow those who want to volunteer to identify the initiatives that best suit their profile and availability. The information will be permanently updated, in order to monitor and complement all voluntary actions that are being promoted and implemented at national level. It is also possible to consult the Portugal Voluntary Platform, through the link www.portugalvoluntario.pt
In a joint solidarity message to cooperatives and members affected by the COVID-19. by the Presidents of CICOPA, CECOP and CICOPA Americas, the Presidents extend their thanks to all the people in cooperatives in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific region and Africa, who are helping to solve this critical situation. They express being particularly grateful to cooperatives in the front-line of this crisis, providing care and support to people affected by COVID-19 under difficult circumstances, placing their own lives at risk. The letter highlights the key value of cooperation and solidarity strongly needed to overcome this crisis, reiterating that as worker cooperatives, they serve their communities and their society.
The Spanish government is positively assessing the response and solutions that social economy enterprises are giving to the health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19. The social economy is responding to the most pressing health emergencies and social needs and it is also producing goods and providing basic services in vital sectors such as agriculture, fishing, health care, cleaning, laundry, transport and distribution, among many others.
The Spanish Confederation of Social Economy Enterprises (CEPES), as an organisation representing all Spanish social economy enterprises and organisations, is working with the Spanish government through the Ministry of Labour and the Social Economy to ensure that social economy enterprises benefit from and have access to the various measures that the Spanish government is taking to save jobs and businesses.
At the time of writing this brief report (06/04/2020), CEPES has proposed several sets of measures to the Government in coordination with all its members. The main measures proposed by CEPES are:
Thanks to the CEPES proposals, the government has incorporated the possibility for the Board of Directors (Consejo Rector/Management Body) of cooperatives to decide on the application of an ERTE (temporary unemployment scheme). The capacity of taking this decision was previously reserved for the General Assembly, which in the current context is difficult to convene with all guarantees of participation given the lockdown due to COVID-19.
In particular, CEPES has requested the application of the exemption from social security contributions and the access to support measure in case of a cessation of the economic activity for labour societies’ shareholder-workers who are legally self-employed workers, as the urgent and extraordinary measures to deal with the economic and social impact of COVID-19 do not provide for these labour societies’ (sociedades laborales, an Spanish form of social economy) workers to become unemployed or to cease their business activities.
In a joint statement, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and Dafne (the Donors and Foundation Networks in Europe), announce that if communities, services or organisations are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, and receive grant funding from the EFC and/or Dafne, they commit to:
What’s more, European philanthropy and social investing networks have come together in an informal alliance between the EFC, DAPHNE, EPVA, GSG, and NEF to ensure that the diverse work they are undertaking is both efficient and achieves the best possible impact for all its beneficiaries. The aim is to support and give guidance to suppliers of funding, such as foundations, social investors and public funders, throughout the survival (6 months) and the revival (18 months) phases related to the COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on trans-national and cross-border activities in Europe, and beyond. The aim of the “Unitus Europe” hub is to become a valuable space for sharing information, resources, and good practices to inspire other actors, gaining new insights through peer-learning and identifying opportunities on the demand and supply side.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, EMN and MFC have started compiling all relevant initiatives taken across Europe and Central Asia to mitigate the impact on the microfinance sector. The dedicated page will be updated as new initiatives surface, so don’t hesitate to check it regularly!
The page includes:
The joint statement recommends that all States take the following considerations as soon as possible:
ESS-France is working to ensure that all social and solidarity economy actors, including associations, can access to the French government’s measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly:
A synthesis of measures adopted by the French government can be found here.
FEBEA’s members are mobilising to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak’s consequences at local and national level. Their various initiatives available here, carried out while ensuring protection for employees and clients, aim to:
Forum Terzo Settore, the national representative of the Italian third sector, is in permanent dialogue with the Italian Government mainly through the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, with whom it is working to ensure that any emergency measure is accessible to all third sector actors.
Forum Terzo Settore has ensured that the Cassa Integrazione, an Italian institution which aims at financially supporting employees in technical unemployment, has been extended to all third sectors actors. Furthermore, FTS is calling for:
Forum Terzo Settore has also launched the campaign #NonFermateci (#DontStopUs) asking the Italian Government and Parliament to provide concrete support to all Third Sector entities (the Italian social economy enterprises and organisations) in the current exit phase and later on, in the reconstruction phase. FTS highlights that thousands of spaces of social aggregation where culture can live will close forever if the Third Sector does not have adequate support. This crisis will make our society weaker. It will hit above all vulnerable people, people living in poverty, and marginalized communities and individuals. Social relations will be more difficult, communities will be less cohesive. Once the emergency phase is over, Italy, will only be able to get back on its feet again if it has been able to protect those who have always been responsible for protecting people.
REVES has published the following statement on its website:
In the current Covid-19 context, the European Commission has tabled a number of proposals to adapt EU legislation in order to rapidly make (financial) support and assistance available to all Member States.
In this context, the European Commission decided, for instance, to loosen state aid rules and set up a State Aid Temporary Framework.
The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, approved also by the European Parliament in its extraordinary plenary session on 26 March 2020, should make it possible to redirect European Structural and Investment Funds. Member States will, for instance, be enabled to use hitherto unused ESIF budget for 2019 (which, in theory, should be paid back to the European Commission) to support measures fighting (the impact of) Covid-19.
Measures related to public health emergencies will become eligible for the European Solidarity Fund.
Also the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank launched specific programmes to help Member States and enterprises (in particular SMEs and mid-caps).
In addition, the European Commission proposed the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact.
Finally, different forums of exchange have been established, among them a specific database on social and solidarity economy initiative.
Also and especially in the Covid-19 crisis, the social and solidarity economy all over Europe is currently in the first line and often a key player in the mobilsation of solidarity. It plays a crucial role in finding and operating solutions in the area of health, social and other basic services, inclusion of the most vulnerable up to research and production. However, it is also facing a number of challenges and does often not receive the same attention, recognition and support as other (economic) actors.
Social and solidarity economy enterprises and organisations, but also local/regional governments cooperating with the social and solidarity economy: Please share with us difficulties you come across – be it at local, national or European level, but also what ideas and suggestions you have to solve them. Social Economy Europe and its members (among them REVES) intend to mobilise policy-makers and make your voice heard by tabling concrete proposals.
Activities undertaken by SZOWES, the West Pomeranian Social Economy Support Centers Network in Poland, are aimed at complementary strengthening of initiatives taken independently by social economy entities, self-help groups or public administration. Their activities to support social economy enterprises and organisations in the West Pomeranian region include the following:
Volunteers & Employees
SZOWES volunteer group (800 volunteers) – activities to fight COVID19:
Free of charge “Good Support” IT tools for all entities and organizations that want to create a database of volunteers/employees working for people in need during a crisis. The tool allows, among others plan and allocate tasks to volunteers and manage their work in an intuitive and quick way. Everyone who works in the field has access to a mobile application that allows them to see what, with whom and where to carry out their task.
SZOWES is providing vouchers worth approximately PLN 5,000 (roughly EUR 1,100) each for social economy entities that have reported specific needs, including:
To date, PLN 210,000 (roughly EUR 46,288) has been spent on this.
SZOWES has been redirecting its available budget funds for new initiatives to counteract the effects of the crisis: the budget for animation events to implement joint ventures for the integration of local communities was transferred to support social projects, such as sewing protective masks (purchase of necessary materials, sewing machines, disinfectants) implemented by social economy entities.
SZOWES is preparing a call for subsidies for creating additional jobs in social enterprises, with particular emphasis on the professional activation of people at risk of occupational exclusion.
SZOWES is partnering up with social economy enterprises/organisations (or related), creating a joint production offer for public procurement opportunities.
SZOWES is support social economy entities by giving free consultancy services: legal, accounting, psychological – how to deal with a new crisis situation, where to get additional funds, how to adapt activities to the changing market situation, and how to access and apply for national assistance funds (exemptions from social contributions, benefits related to the exemption from the obligation to work for employed employees, loans to maintain financial liquidity, etc.)
SZOWES is organising reintegration support targeted at social economy entities through an online community (named: the Academy) with information like: the implementation of interests and professional plans; psychological and motivational support for both employees and employers. The Academy is also to be a knowledge base about institutions that operate actively in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship for the benefit of the disabled, people at risk of exclusion or the unemployed.
Lastly, SZOWES, together with other partners of the social economy and representatives of the regional authorities, monitors and plans actions to counteract the effects of the COVID19 pandemic.