The Civil Society Days are organized by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to create a public forum, bringing together civil society organizations, European citizens, and European institutions.
Following this year’s restrictions, the week-long event was delivered fully on a digital format, on the week of 1st to 5th March 2021. This year’s theme was “A Sustainable Recovery for the Future of Europe's citizens”.
CECOP President Giuseppe Guerini had the pleasure to speak at two of the eight interactive workshops organized by EU-wide organizations involved in the EESC Civil Society Liaison Group on key topics to discuss the recovery and reconstruction of Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social Economy and Youth
Workshop 2 “Social Economy and youth entrepreneurship for a sustainable recovery” was held on the 2nd of March and organized by Social Economy Europe, Cooperatives Europe, and the EESC section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption.
The opening remarks were delivered by Ann Branch, Head of the Job Creation unit at DG EMPL, and CECOP President Giuseppe Guerini. They both spoke about the importance of social economy enterprises as a source of job creation, and how they have become a much more relevant go-to model for youth entrepreneurship.
“Social cooperatives are the main tool to deliver social inclusion, by providing education and work. Cooperatives in general are the real power of change, they come from the combination of solidarity and entrepreneurship.” Giuseppe Guerini.
The roundtable saw the presence of other members of the cooperative family like Nicolás Dimarco from FACTTIC, the Argentinian Technology Worker Cooperative Federation, and Ana Aguirre from TAZEBAEZ cooperative in the Basque Countries (Spain), where they discussed how social economy models are gaining popularity across youth, both in terms of employment and entrepreneurship.
Several studies show what cooperatives observe in reality: youths look more and more for jobs with meaning and societal impact; cooperatives, going beyond simply making profits, and putting people at the center are therefore particularly attractive among youths.
The closing remarks included the presence of Ulla Engelmann, Head of the Social Economy unit at DG GROW at the European Commission.
Green deal and recovery
Workshop 6 “A Social Green Deal for a sustainable recovery”, was held on the 4th of March and organized by Social Platform, Solidar and the EESC section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion.
The interactive workshop was moderated by Solidar Secretary General, Mikael Leyi.
The panel highlighted how the effects of the pandemic were a direct result on the way our economy is organized, and how the recovery should be done in a sustainable and socially just way.
President Giuseppe Guerini stated: “Social economy demonstrates that economics can be done by taking care of communities in the shared and common interests. It is time to bring Social Economy principles between economic institutions and policy makers, this is the time to build a more social, more innovative and greener Europe”.
Furthermore, a main takeaway was also that the principles of social economy should be put at the heart of the recovery.
The panel included the presence of Social Platform President Piotr Sadowski, among others.