The European Union is at a historical moment, confronted by social and political challenges that European members need to overcome to build a common future. Notions such as economic progress, inclusive society and social justice need to be discussed in the perspective of the coming phases for the European development, with greater specification on the cross-cutting mechanisms for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2020-2030 plan for European development.  RIPESS Europe developed a concept concept note on SSE Public policies (pdf).

The challenge is to redefine economic activity as embedded it in a model that serves a human right approach. RIPESS Europe advocates for the development of a European economy and society based on a model of social innovation combining two registers of democratic participatory solidarity: one based on egalitarian reciprocity and the other on public redistribution. There is an urgent need to provide far more active support for SSE initiatives as a political project of social transformation at European level. SSE networks must be identified and invited to join the conversation in all aspects of public policy and regulation, given the important needs for adjusted mechanisms of support required to reinforce local and regional initiatives in their cability to develop resilient opportunities for truly sustainable development.

We advocate for the consolidation of representative, participatory and deliberative democracies based on the expression of collective needs and a human rights-based approach, plural democracy being linked to a plural economy. All forms of social innovation need to be mobilized to preserve social inclusion, integration and cohesion in Europe. A cross-cutting approach for SSE is required for all existing economic sectors, in order to include specific regulations that promote non-profit, civil society-based initiatives and collective entrepreneurship. Internal dialogue and negotiation for sectoral regulation should aim and help to implement fairer redistribution and reciprocity mechanisms in the sectors in question, as well as innovative modes of democratic and citizen regulation of economic activities.

Some specific public policies need to be developed for SSE initiatives, understood as a field of action and overall concept: the development of SSE education, Initial and Vocational Education and Adult Training is a major aspect, as well as supporting local initiatives developing specific governance mechanisms, the support for coordination, and the investment in R&D. European Structural and Investment Funds should be strongly engaged in financing programmes and projects that implement the SDGs to achieve social justice and equity, equality at territorial level and fair redistribution of all means and wealth, and by promoting more specifically necessary public services, local citizen initiatives, and supporting cooperation processes and mechanisms.

Innovative modes of democratic and citizen regulation of economic activities should be implemented through a co-construction process between public authorities and organised citizens, as well as through public policies that enable self-managed economic and collaborative organisation.

Download the whole document (pdf): RIPESS EU concept note on SSE Public policies