International Conference on Social Economy Development
On 16 and 17 April 2018 NASO took part in an international conference on “Social Economy – for an economically sustainable and socially inclusive EU” that was held in Sofia. The conference was part of the programme of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and was attended by over 100 European delegates involved in the topic. EU policymakers and those from enlargement countries, as well as representatives of international organisations, social partners and civil society organisations, exchanged views and offered experience on the role of social economy in tackling some of Europe's major challenges – generating sustainable and decent jobs, improving social justice for all and reducing inequality. After the Minister of Labour and Social Policy Biser Petkov opened the event, the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social Policy Hasan Ademov and the Deputy Minister of Labour Sultanka Petrova outlined the work done by the Bulgarian legislative and executive powers on the subject and the future directions in social economy development.
The attendees were acquainted with the policies for social economy development in different European countries and the examples of systematic process management, ranging from a law, national register, national institute or other organisation that covers and supports social enterprises in a practical, methodical and instrumental way at national and local level.
Different views on the right approach to social economy development were discussed focusing on the need of expressing more solidarity or using more entrepreneurial principles and sharing opinions about the place and understanding of solidarity as a concept and a practice related to social entrepreneurship. Some of the conference’s participants viewed social economy as being part of the economic and social systems, but others took the position that it would have a more prominent role in the future socio-economic environment of Europe.
Leading organisations and institutions working on the subject at European level were presented; at different levels they apply a more private approach to the development of social entrepreneurship and economy, an approach which demonstrates a greater understanding and is used as both the third pillar of the economy in individual countries and a possibly more systematic policy in European countries.
The forum has made it clear that the draft law on the social economy of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will be published for public discussion within days. It has been developed by the ministry together with the working group in which NASO is a member.
The National Alliance submitted three proposals concerning the law to the MLSP at various stages of its drafting. NASO has sent various drafts to its experts throughout the country. Their comments and opinions have been included in the NASO’s position on the social economy law and its dialogue with the ministry on this topic.
One of the NASO's main goals in this direction is social services to be able to work as social enterprises.
Photo: Krum Stoev (EU2018BG)