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Lynn Boylan MEP launches campaign calling on the EU to designate 2018 the year of the social solidarity economy

28 January, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has today in Brussels 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 a major conference organised by the European United Left group of MEPs (GUE/NGL).

The first European Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy was attended by 250 participants from across the EU, including more than 20 delegates from the island of Ireland from various cooperatives, social enterprises, Challenging the Crisis and the Irish Social Enterprise Network.

The term social and solidarity describes a wide range of organisations that are different to typical for for-profit businesses. Namely these organisations have economic and social objectives and they are also co-operative in nature.  Examples of these kind of groups include NGOs that take part in revenue generating activities or women’s self-help groups.

Speaking today 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.”

Ms Boylan continued:

“Last summer I hosted a successful seminar on a social and solidarity economy in Liberty Hall, Dublin. We heard from a number of excellent speakers from all corners of the island on their experience of social enterprise.

“In order to build a viable people's economy, the value of social enterprises must be appreciated by the government.

“Therefore we want the Irish government to include meaningful social clauses in public procurement, which can provide an advantage for the SSE, which in turn will provide benefits for the community.”

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