SEE General Assembly. 24th June in Rome.

SEE General Assembly took place June 24th, in Rome and was hosted by Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane. It was a particularly fruitful meeting with the elections of SEE’s Presidency and new Executive Board. Juan Antonio Pedreño was re-elected president of SEE unanimously and the new format of the executive board now counts 12 members. This General Assembly also approved and welcomed 3 new Social Economy Europe’s members: the European network Microfinance Centre and the national umbrella organizations ASES from Slovakia and Coompanion from Sweden.

The General Assembly also counted with the presence and intervention of the 2nd Vice president and Minister of Labour and Social Economy of the Government of Spain, Yolanda Díaz, who addressed a charmful closing speech.

50 people participated in person in the GA and was also followed online by 38 people.

Sunday 23rd: visit and dinner

Most of SEE members arrived on 23rd June and could enjoy a guided walking tour of the amazing center of Rome visiting iconic monuments such as the Colosseum or Fontana di Trevi.  After the visit, it was time to regain strength with a typical dinner at the restaurant Trattoria der Pallaro. Both the guided visit and the dinner were organized and graciously offered by our host Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane.

SEE members during the guided tour

SEE General Assembly June 24th

Welcome speech by Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane

The GA started with a welcome speech by the President of Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane, Maurizio Gardini who highlighted the importance of this GA not only for SEE but also for the whole ecosystem. He also pointed out the importance of renewing the intergroup and appointing a Commissioner responsible for SE.  

This morning, an important General Assembly is being held to give Social Economy Europe a renewed and more articulated government that will allow to consolidate the action in Europe in a particularly delicate phase to protect the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the social economy. The Italian Cooperative Alliance is strongly motivated to support the action of Social Economy Europe and I would like to thank my friend Juan Antonio Pedreño for the profound commitment in recent years and for the significant results achieved.

Mauricio Gardini, President of AGCI and Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane

Welcome word by SEE President, Juan Antonio Pedreño

Juan Antonio Pedreño started his speech by thanking the splendid organization of the GA by Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane and its commitment with Social Economy Europe. He also thanked the presence of all the SEE members to the GA both in person and also online and the SEE team for all its work. He pointed out the achievements that SEE has reached because of the joint efforts at European and international level:

Together, we have realized that we add up. And as we have said on some occasions, if we are alone, we are invisible, but together we can be invincible. And today, thanks to this joint work of all the organizations, we have an action plan for the social economy approved in December 2021 with more than 60 to promote measures in favor of the social economy throughout Europe. We have some documents that have been developed since the OECD of legal frameworks so that in all countries there are legislations and regulations in favor of the social economy. We have a resolution of OIT to talk about the social economy and decent work. We have a resolution of the Davos Forum in this sense as well. We have the United Nations Resolution, just a year ago, where the Vice-President of the Government, who will join us here this morning, presented in the United Nations. And we have, above all, a recommendation from the European Council, which was approved within the framework of the Spanish Presidency, which also establishes that in two years all the countries of Europe must have regulations and measures to promote the social economy.

Juan Antonio Pedreño highlighted the necessity of continuing to work at national, regional and local level.

We want the action plan to be developed, we want a commissioner for the social economy, we want to renew the intergroup of social economy. We want social economy to be in all the transversal policies of the European Union. The social economy democratizes the economy.

Intervention of Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of SEE

After the welcoming speeches the General Assembly officially started and here are some of the key points.

Approval of the SEE Internal Rules

The coordinator of SEE’s Governance working group, Carlos Lozano, presented the proposal for the SEE Internal Rules as an output from this working group. Its objective is to propose an inclusive model of governance in the organization regardless of the necessary changes of SEE Statutes (adopted last December), thanks to the reform of the SEE Internal Rules. This is enabled by the active participation of members in various working groups, by maintaining transparency and dialogue between the SEE Executive Board (which replaces the former Board of Directors) and members of the GA. The role of the vice-presidents and treasurer is maintained and they will be elected during the 1st meeting of the Executive Committee.

The new SEE Internal Rules were voted and approved unanimously.

Carlos Lozano presents the SEE Internal Rules to be voted and approved.

SEE Annual Report 2023

The Activity Report 2023 was presented in a video format and a detailed written of the report was distributed.  SEE President thanked again all the work of the team and bureau, specially to Jérôme Saddier who ended his mission in the SEE Board, as well as SEE’s members commitment.

It is an honor to present this activity report in 2023. This year has basically witnessed numerous milestones, advances, as I have pointed out, and I think it is a very important boost for the socialeconomy in Europe.

Approval of accounts and budget

 SEE President highlighted an increase in SEE budget foreseen in both 2024 and 2025 thanks to funded projects and the exceptional call for funds that members fed. This budget increase also means hiring 2 extra staff members by end of 2024. The accounts for 2023 were also presented and approved unanimously.

Hanna Surmatz (Philea) intervenes during the GA

Presentation of SEE work plan for 2024

The director of SEE, Sarah de Heusch presented the work plan for 2024 which is based on 3 different axes with different strategic objectives:

These axes and strategic objectives translate into 20 concrete actions in 2024. For the strategic objective “Inter-cooperation among SEE members”, Sarah de Heusch highlighted the 4 SEE working groups: governance (coordinated by CEPES), social finance (coordinated by FEBEA), projects (coordinated by SEE) and disability (coordinated by Philea-Fundación ONCE) and the organization of moments of collective intelligence.

 The SEE work plan for 2024 was approved unanimously.

Sarah de Heusch during the presentation of the SEE work plan

Presentation and approval of 3 new members of SEE

 The 3 candidates to SEE membership presented their organizations:

  • ASES Slovakia: The Alliance for Social Economy in Slovakia (ASES) is an association of social enterprises and other entities that support the social economy and especially social entrepreneurship in the Slovak Republic.
  • Coompanion: is the national umbrella organization in Sweden which promotes cooperative entrepreneurship. Coompanion is present throughout Sweden, with 25 independent regional cooperatives that are owned and managed locally. Together they have around 1000 members.
  • Microfinance centre: (MFC) is a social finance network that promotes fairness, inclusion, equality and responsible service. It unites over 100 organisations across 36 countries of Europe, Central Asia, who together deliver responsible microfinance services to almost 2,000,000 low-income clients. Their mission is to empower people and communities through sustainable social finance.
Alena Gunarova, acting vice president of ASES, presents the organization

The 3 organisations were approved unanimously as new members of SEE. With this incorporation, SEE now counts 27 member organisations.

SEE elections for the Presidency and Executive Board

The SEE elections took place during the General Assembly. SEE president, Juan Antonio Pedreño (CEPES), was re-elected unanimously. The new Executive Board is now composed of Alain Coheur (AIM), Sarah Goddard (AMICE), Mathieu de Poorter (CEDAG), Lourdes Marquez (Philea), Diana Dovgan (CECOP), Luca Pastorelli (DIESIS), Patrizia Bussi (ENSIE), Daniel Sorrosal (FEBEA), Giuseppe Guerini (Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane), Pascale Zoetaert (ConcertES), Antoine Détourné (ESS-France) and Paul O´Sullivan (The Wheel). This new Executive Board replaces SEE’s former Board of Directors.

Presentation of the Ibero American network for Social Economy by Danilo Salerno, Regional Director of ACI Americas

After the voting process, Danilo Salerno, director of ACI Americas intervened to present the Ibero-American Network for Social Economy, an initiative that was born at the beginning of this year, promoted by the Minister of Labour and the Social Economy of the Government of Spain, Governments of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. As well as ACI Americas and SEE, it pursues the implementations of the recommendations of the ILO and the OECD on social economy and innovation, the resolution of the United Nations on social economy in 2023 and to some extent the European Social Economy Plan.

The objectives of the network are to promote the social and solidarity economy, to promote its growth within the countries, to create common projects for its growth, to have international, national and sub-regional dialogue, to create an conducive environment, a regulatory framework for the social and solidarity economy, to promote commercial relations through projects that can emerge from the social and solidarity economy, and obviously the design of financial tools that can strengthen its actors in dialogue with the other organizations of the social and solidarity economy.

Danilo Salerno, Director of ACI Americas

Intervention of Yolanda Díaz, 2nd Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Labour and Social Economy

The SEE General Assembly was closed by an enthusiastic speech from Yolanda Díaz, 2nd Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Labour and Social Economy. She started by putting into value the work done by SEE and congratulating Juan Antonio Pedreño for his re-election as president of SEE. The Minister highlighted the importance of the social economy in Europe and expressed her commitment to the development of the European Social Economy Plan. She also highlighted the need to mainstream the social economy in European industrial policies and promote its adequate financing, as well as the appointment of a European commissioner responsible for the social economy. Yolanda Díaz emphasized the importance of academic research and the role of the social economy in economic resilience, concluding with a call to defend the social economy as a key element for an inclusive Europe.

I believe that you are the best example of what Europe needs today, this way of doing economy, this way of socially structuring Europe, this way that has to do with solidarity, that has to do with human values, that has to do with feminism, it is the most favorable economy for the participation of women and we have to turn it into the favorable economy for young European men and women. We have to take one more challenge, one more step, so that young people enter the social economy. I insist, based on the conviction that this is a profoundly resilient economy.

I believe that Commissioner Smith has shown that we want a Europe in which the social economy plays in the first division and that it is certainly like that transversal umbrella that changes a Europe that has to be better. The European project has to do with human rights, it has to do with democracy and it has to do with economies that are not exclusive. And if there is an inclusive economy, it is called social economy.

Yolanda Díaz during her speech

Encounter between the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy of Spain, Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane and SEE

Confcooperative headquarters was also the venue for a fruitful meeting between the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy of Spain, Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane and SEE in which the role of social economy in the Member States, especially in Italy, was discussed. Present at the meeting were Yolanda Díaz, 2nd Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Labour and Social Economy, Amparo Merino, State Secretary of Social Economy in Spain, Maurizio Gardini, President of Confcooperative, Giovanni Schiavone, President of AGCI, Simone Gamberini, President of Legacoop and Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of SEE, amongst other representatives from the 3 institutions.

Conference: La cooperazione nell’economia sociale, un action plan italiano, June 24th

After the SEE General Assembly, all the attendees could enjoy a lunch buffet graciously offered by Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane before going to the next activity of the day: the conference “The cooperative movement in the social economy, an Italian Action Plan”, a social economy conference focused on implementing the Council Recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions in Italy. The event, organized by Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane, CECOP and SEE took place in the astonishing Tempio di Vibia Sabina e Adriano, in the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of Rome. It  drew high level speakers such as: Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of SEE, Yolanda Díaz, 2nd Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Labour and Social Economy, Giussepe Guerini, President of CECOP, Maurizio Gardini, President of Confcooperative, Giovanni Schiavone, President of AGCI, Simone Gamberini, President of Legacoop, Vanessa Palluchi, spokesperson of Forum Terzo Settore, Maria Teresa Belluci, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policies of Italy or Lucia Albano, Undersecretary of State to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The speakers presented their insights on social economy in Europe, Italy and Spain, the contribution of all SE families, the ways to elaborate a Social Economy Action Plan for Italy by designing Italy’s strategy to implement the Council Recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions.

“In Italy, we have a favorable context for the social economy to achieve the 10% of the employment in 2030”.  

Giovanni Schiavone, President of AGCI and vicepresident of Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane.

“We are experiencing several crises so cooperativism is more necessary than ever. Cooperativism is synonym of democracy, feminism and sustainability with 1000M of members and 100M of jobs around the world. The social economy is the future”.

Yolanda Díaz, 2nd Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Labour and Social Economy.

 “We need to implement the Social Economy Action Plan at different levels: European, national, regional and local. There must be policies to promote the social economy in each region. Where there is social economy there are greater social welfare and less inequality. Social economy is the only model that answers the 3 challenges: climate change, reduce inequalities and reinforce the democratic systems”.

Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of Social Economy Europe

“We are aware of the importance of the social economy because it leaves no one behind. We need to continue promoting the social economy in Italy and we need a European framework in the area of taxation”.

Maria Teresa Belluci, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policies of Italy

Gianluca Salvatori (moderator), Juan Antonio Pedreño and Giuseppe Guerini
Gianluca Salvatori (moderator), Lucia Albano and Simone Gamberini

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