In 2007, the Centre de Ressources des Groupements d’employeurs (CRGE) in the Poitou-Charentes region hosted the preparatory cycle for LUX’09, the social and solidarity-based economy intercontinental meeting. Pactes Locaux organised a workshop on “democratic participation and local roots” at the event. In 2012, the new PACTS project, part of the Grundtvig European programme, allows us to assess the journey so far. In my opinion, this is the most innovative aspect of our collective: we have learned how to participate on a daily basis and to create a lasting process.

All journeys are a learning experience. The other innovation is the desire to keep this learning context alive. To keep learning from each other in order to build an economy where everyone has a role to play and a society rooted in solidarity. The CRGE spent five years developing shared employment in different sectors and territories, first in France then in Europe. This process gave birth to the European Information and Resource Centre for Employers’ Alliances in 2008. In 2012, the European Commission’s Employment Package is proposing the development of Employers’ Alliances (EA) as a tool for ensuring employees a stable career path and providing companies with more security. A new bill in France will strengthen these same alliances’ capacity for social dialogue and negotiation. Initially designed as a response to lack of job security, they have gradually become a broader response to changes in the world of work, particularly in terms of jobs in the social and solidarity-based economy. Over those five years, the Pactes Locaux project has become European Pacts. In this new two-year cycle, we are still committed to adopting the same approach: taking the local dimension, the concrete participation of actors in the field, as the springboard for creating with them. In the face of the deep-reaching dysfunctions and inequalities of modern-day society, European Pacts is based on all of us working together within the project to gain recognition from institutions and public authorities that these actors are permanent components of the new territorial governance, key elements in a renewed form of democracy. This first newsletter marks the start of the cycle. The October meeting lived up to expectations, marked by the values that we all apply in our actions, our different organisations and our countries, and by the accessibility and rigour of the Learning Journey method, explored with the aim of improving it. The process involves a great deal of work—since all of us need to feel very committed to its success—a great deal of discussion and mutual recognition and a great deal of solidarity and friendship. The movement has now been launched to build the knowledge of those whose concrete actions have created real expertise, and ensure that this expertise, given more shape and more recognition, can be used to help build a more solidarity-based Europe. France Joubert, European Pacts President and CRGE President What is an Employers’ Alliance? A legal instrument introduced in France by a 1985 law. It allows several companies to share employment of the same employees. With particularly strong roots in the Poitou-Charentes region, this action model is used in the farming, skilled trades, not-for-profit and food processing sectors. Information & resource centres exists in several regions around France. A European Information and Resource Centre has been set up with the active support of CRGE, and counts members from various European countries.