It is standard practice when writing an end-of-year editorial message to rejoice in the success stories of the year, so I will carry on the tradition by underlining the success of the GSEF in Montreal early last September, and the EFSSE that was held in Brussels at the European Parliament in January.

There is something inconclusive in the air at the end of this year… Have we really engaged as planned with the urgent need to address climate change or social and political issues? Definitely not. Our house is on fire, the fracture between the political and civil society spheres is ever greater and is leaving wide open space for self-declared, anti-systemic populist political movements.

But we will not give in to this, or lower of demands. RIPESS Europe already has a full calendar of events planned for 2017, and we wish to invite you to continue to jointly build a real change of paradigm. We will therefore be participating in Malaga in the NESI Forum in April. It is another important stage on the journey to build convergence between the movements aiming to change society. There will then be the 2nd EFSSE that will take place in Brussels in May, followed by the RIUESS meeting that will allow us to think about how we can build spaces around the Mediterranean. In June we will be holding our Congress in Athens, and we need to jointly develop the agenda for that. The congress will also allow us to renew the energy in our various working groups.

This is a considerable programme, and it should help us to move forward to propose concrete alternatives and place them in the various agendas of civil society. Because to create change, we need to “rethink our action paradigms, as well as those for managing our companies and act within the collective imagination” as Jordi Via, the Commissioner for Social and solidarity economy in Barcelona told us at our recent meeting there.

This is the roadmap that we should adopt and include in our resolutions for 2017!

Wishing you all seasons’ greetings,

Eric Lavillunière
Coordinateur Général RIPESS Europe