The news in the RIPESS network resonates with current events, which show, in contrast, to what extent it is urgent that humanity find pathways to a better harmonization of the conditions of life on the planet. At the same time as social systems are threatened by an ultra liberalization of the economy, the disorders caused by the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa throw on the roads and in the sea thousands of families who escape from the disasters or who find their vital grounds and chances of survival sinking.

Greece is doubly affected: austerity plans continue to sow insecurity and exclusion, while thousands of refugees are relegated in camps  since Europe has decided to cut the road to the flow of desolation. And yet the Greek people have shown great solidarity, organizing grassroot support for refugees and solidarity funds for autonomous initiatives. The Europe Union is granting small funds to reward social innovation initiatives for refugees and without a doubt one of our Greek members would deserve this support.

Europe has faced a series of terrorist attacks that affect us closely; yet in 2015 more than 120 have been perpetrated in the world and more than 16 to date since 2016. We express our solidarity towards all those who have been victims and to all those fleeing war zones.

RIPESS Europe participated, on 28 January, at the invitation of Juan Peris – Mencheta Barrio de Podemos to the European Forum of the social and solidarity economy organized by the parliamentary group European United Left / Nordic Confederation Group (GUE / NGL). This forum, a first in the European Parliament, gathered parliamentarians, researchers, social and solidarity economy actors. Many RIPESS Europe members participated and in general, despite some logistical difficulties, expressed their satisfaction to having made clearer and in a structured way the strong and diversified discourse of the solutions proposed by the ESS. They are essential to initiate a significant transition towards an economic model and policy that are more suited to the current challenges, including those mentioned above because they are at the basis of economic democracy and social justice.

Also available in this newsletter is the text on “Social Innovation and SSE” produced by Jean Louis Laville and Rogerio Roque Amaro, members of the Advisory Board of the RIPESS Europe, on the occasion of the European Forum of the ESS, with the participation of several members.

The Panorama of the SSE working group met in Florence last March for a two days session. Many issues and potential activities were discussed. We invite all of our members to participate actively in the collection of information and notably through the Panorama survey to begin with. We’re making progress (400 + responses, mainly from France and Greece), and hopefully more participation will ensue as this work should also feed an existing interactive map where initiatives can enhance their activity.

RIPESS Eu – Solidarity Economy Europe’s General Assembly will be held from 20 to 22 June 2016 at La Bergerie de Villarceaux (near Paris). For those interested, don’t forget to book the date. The program will be made available during the month of April.

Finally, the RIPESS Eu is being asked to take part in several European projects. We hope that they can be successful because they are good occasion for inter-cooperation, to which we will dedicate a special section in the next version of the website which we are renovatiing to facilitate – we hope – better access and more interactivity.

Josette Combes (MES – Mouvement for Solidarity Economy, France)