The first half of the event saw contributions from the mayor of Sintra, which is part of the European Capital of Social Economy network, Ana Mendes Godinho, Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Protection and Social Security of Portugal, and EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmit.
The second half of the event was a panel debate, for which CECOP President Giuseppe Guerini gave a keynote speech. The high-level panel consisted of several representatives of international organizations, national governments, and social economy networks.
CECOP President Giuseppe Guerini was invited as a keynote speaker in his capacity as rapporteur of the EESC opinion on "The role of the Social Economy in the creation of jobs and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights". During his intervention, Mr. Guerini highlighted that the social economy aims to create value for its communities, rather than creating money from money. Therefore, social economy enterprises are important for creating local jobs and provide tailored services in their communities.
He called on policymakers to address the needs articulated by social economy enterprises, such as worker and social cooperatives. By providing funding and easing access to public procurement, local, and regional governments can support social economy enterprises while ensuring local investment.
To ensure the maintenance of jobs locally, business transfers to employees have proven to be successful. However, there is often a lack of awareness of this model. Hence, providing information on different models of business transfers to employees, such as worker buyouts, can be an important step to ensure the continuity of a company’s legacy.
Furthermore, Mr. Guerini highlighted the importance of the social economy in harnessing the gains of the digital economy. By introducing new technologies, provide training, and developing new innovative business models, social economy enterprises.
Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, focused in his intervention on the upcoming Action Plan for the Social Economy that will increase the visibility, building enabling ecosystems, improve access to finance, and support the scale-up of the social economy.
Other speakers of the panel where the Spanish minister of Labour Yolanda Diaz; the Slovenian State Secretary of Labour Mateja Ribič; Secretary-General of the OECD, Ángel Gurría; Director of ILO//ACTRAV Maria Helena André; UNTFSSE Chairman Vic van Vuuren; President of Social Economy Europe, Juan Antonio Pedreño; Director-General of the Portuguese confederation of Social Economy, Francisco Silva; and the President of Portugal Social Innovation, Filipe Almeida.
CECOP congratulates the Portuguese Presidency and the António Sérgio Cooperative for the Social Economy (CASES), for the organization of this successful event and is looking forward to the upcoming Action Plan for the Social Economy.