Volunteering with Wind of Renewal / Anemos Ananeosis

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Since September 2016 Wind of Renewal hosted more than 300 volunteers from all over the world for social and ecological actions. Here are some useful materials for the new volunteers:

Code of Conduct for VOLUNTEERS en- 2019-2020

The Volunteers_Welcome_Pack_2019-2020 if you want to partcipate in volunteering with the social cooperative Wind of Renewal

WELCOMMON HOSTEL Volunteer Rules 2019-2020

For a European Youth Guarantee with Green Qualification Offensive

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  1. Youth for a sustainable future

The climate crisis does not allow a postponement of action. When the tipping points towards self-enhancing global warming are approaching, rapid and drastic measures are necessary. Not at some point or other, but here and now.

Climate protection requires commitment, but also creativity, technical know-how and qualified, hard work. Speeding the energy transformation, developing storage technologies, transforming buildings into zero energy or energy producers, making forms of housing and mobility environmentally compatible: activities, know-how and the ingenuity of people who are capable of developing and implementing ways and solutions containing the global climate crisis are in demand. The beginning is an energy revolution with trained craftsmen and engineers and it continues with experts for energy planning and digital control of processes. We need research for necessary technical and social innovations and we need consulting and communication tools to spread these innovations, overcome acceptance barriers and adapt solutions to concrete needs. The need for qualified wo-men power extends far beyond energy-related tasks, we are thinking of challenges such as redesigning agriculture to be climate-friendly, protecting forests from mega fires in drought summers, redesigning them to be climate-friendly, reforesting landscapes and cities, adapting them to the harsher circumstances of the climate crisis, or shaping the way we handle water, irrigation and rainwater in such a way that the consequences of aggravated water crises remain manageable in a changed climate.

In many regions and cities of the European Union, young people are calling unambiguously for “climate protection here and now”. “Fridays for Future Movement” has created a movement that calls for and forces action. In addition to the practical commitment, a great deal of technical knowledge and know-how, a wide range of new technical and interdisciplinary skills are necessary in order to successfully implement climate protection. Europe needs a lot of young people who are prepared and qualified for the diverse tasks in climate change. The supply of skilled workers is far from sufficient for a serious “green new deal”: Europe and the rest of the world need young specialists above all.

A Europe-wide qualification offensive in many fields of action is therefore pending for climate protection. How can the European Union as such contribute to this after the upcoming European elections and without delay? A future-oriented qualification offensive for climate change must be supported by young people – but on average it is precisely this group that is much more excluded from the labour market. At the beginning of 2019, the EU reported an unemployment rate of 6.3%, compared with 10.6% for the age group between 20 and 29. The discrepancy is even more pronounced in the southern European countries, i.e. in regions that are particularly hard hit by the imminent climate catastrophes, while at the same time offer great resources in the field of renewable energies. At the turn of the year 2018/19, youth unemployment in Greece reached 31.6%, in Spain 23.8%, in Croatia 16.6% and in Italy 23.5%. And this is despite the fact that young people from these countries have migrated in large numbers to Northern European regions to look for work.

At its core, the EU already has an instrument with which it can, after further development, provide strong impetus for a Green New Deal: the European Youth Guarantee. Enacted after the increase of youth unemployment in 2013, it obliges the Member States to offer young people between the ages of 15 and 24 either paid work or an apprenticeship within four months. After submission of implementation programms, the countries receive funds from the EU budget. By 2018, a total of €6.4 billion had been made available for this purpose, now the amount is €9 billion. It is obvious that this sum can only be used to alleviate youth unemployment. And if the European Commission now refers to the fact that it has fallen from 24% in 2013 to 14.6% at the beginning of 2019 among 18 to 24-year-olds across the EU, this is more the result of a certain economic revival and intra-European migration.

It is not surprising, that the Youth Guarantee only had limited effects in fighting against youth unemployment.  To hire young people without additional training for a minimum wage improved with public grants, invites frequently to windfall effects in enterprises. Without any economic change, the youth guarantee remains an instrument that only temporarily gives young people career prospects; or it leads to shifts in the labour market. Taken on its own, it does not open up sustainable employment prospects or new jobs. In economic sectors where there is no more work or even less work in the next future, it resembles a zero-sum game.

On the other hand, it can have a positive effect in the long term in economic sectors that will be in demand in the future and are important for the future of society. The training and work of young people should preferably be promoted and supported in such business areas and activities. Thus, we propose an extended form of the Youth Guarantee, giving at the same time strong impulses for a Green New Deal.  It should include a targeted training offensive offered to all Member States in line with their youth unemployment rates:

The EU offers young people, who have not yet found adequate work, training concerning technical issues and empowerment for the subsequent search for a profession, for setting up businesses or cooperatives, and opportunities to participate in cooperatives in occupational fields that are suitable for advancing the sustainable development of the Union. One area that is particularly suitable here are activities dealing with the improvement of climate protection and the containment of the effects of global warming. We propose to extend the European Youth Guarantee by an additional EU-funded offer “Youth for a sustainable future”. This offer is intended to provide young Europeans, including young refugees with right of residence, with primary or supplementary training in professions that are important and necessary for climate protection. The training should be closely linked to practical activities and local experience, similar to the “dual model” of vocational training in Germany. The young people should also learn how they can take the initiative in the climate protection and energy system transformation sector, set up start-up companies and become active in solidarity-based economic projects. Particularly in the climate-friendly energy system transformation and work structuring sector, personal initiative and creativity are particularly in demand.

The financial resources available to the European Youth Guarantee are far from sufficient to achieve the declared goal of opening the way for all young Europeans to a profession and to adequate work. Therefore, in the forthcoming discussions of the European budget, the fund foreseen for the youth guarantee must be substantially expanded.

In addition, the proposed educational offer “Youth for a sustainable future” presupposes that corresponding climate protection activities are actually tackled. But all EU member states are bound by international law to do so (Paris Convention on Climate Change) anyway. The EU Commission recently “added” to this and set out requirements in new guidelines negotiated with the European Parliament and the European Council that will have to be implemented in the coming years. Just to name two: The share of renewable energies in the EU’s total energy consumption must be at least 32% by 2030. The Commission reserves the right to further increase the share by 2023 with a new proposal for a directive. And energy efficiency must be increased by 32.5% across Europe by 2030. In view of the drama of the climate crisis, this target is still too low; but this alone make it mandatory to qualify far more than one million young Europeans in a short period of time in such a way that they can participate in the restructuring of the energy supply.

It is precisely the southern regions affected by high youth unemployment that offer favourable conditions for the use of solar and wind energy and also have a lot of catching up to do in terms of energy efficiency. In the coming years they will also be confronted more severely than northern Europe with the consequences of the deregulated climate and will have to do a great deal to limit desertification, the risk of erosion, severe water crises and negative effects on agriculture. This is another reason why they cannot afford to permanently exclude young people from employment or force them to migrate to other European regions. They need their youth in order to maintain the viability of their own society.

  1. Systemic approach for a Southern European qualification offensive in the field of sustainable construction and renewable energies

A holistic systemic approach is needed to reduce youth unemployment sustainably, to give young people perspectives through qualified employment and to make use of their potential in the fight against the climate crisis. Such an approach can be used to define and create meaningful and existentially important action fields which are additionally necessary for the climate change.

The approach presented here initially focuses on the areas of sustainable construction and renewable energies. However, it can be transferred to other fields of employment for social change. These are key areas for shaping an ecological turnaround in our societies, for which immense development potential is also predicted in the southern European countries. Both fields of action are already perceived by companies in Southern European countries as future markets.

We refer to two target groups in southern European countries affected by high youth unemployment. The approach is aimed at young people before they enter the labour market (1.1.) and at young, already qualified experts who, despite their mostly academic qualifications, cannot find a job (1.2.). For both target groups it is proposed to strengthen their technical know-how in the field of green skills and their interdisciplinary expertise in the field of soft skills through the development of educational services tailored precisely to this target group in such a way that on the one hand their employment and future prospects can be improved and on the other hand their potential for climate protection can be used. The educational services will be developed with the support of German experts, but it is an explicitly co-creative development with experts in the target countries. In this way it is ensured that the new educational services are integrated into the education system of the target country and adapt to new challenges.

2.1 Strengthening of the green vocational training and green vocational orientation in the target countries

There is a strong prioritisation of academic education in the Southern European countries affected by high youth unemployment. Vocational education and training is not valued by society; vocational training systems are often strongly geared to theoretical training and do not adapt their offerings to the needs of modern markets. This applies not only to the demand for modern (green) technologies, especially green technologies, but also to the growing need to train young trainees in soft skills, in the sense of empowerment, which enables them to develop autonomously in modern labour markets.

The one-sided focus of academic education and the poor quality of vocational training have led to a shortage of skilled workers at the intermediate qualification level, particularly in technical occupations, which companies are already complaining about today. Although it is obvious that studying often leads to unemployment, parents continue to make great efforts to bring their children to universities. If one looks at the situation in the areas of sustainable construction and renewable energies in the target countries, the companies speak of immense growth potential, which, however, can not be realised due to a lack of experts. At the intermediate qualification level, there is a lack of skilled workers and the possibility of providing services that require European certification (e.g. with regard to environmental protection). At the higher qualification level, the existing know-how usually has a deficit practical relevance. Even in the southern European countries, where the vocational training system has traditionally been decoupled from the companies, more and more companies are becoming involved in cooperation with the vocational training institutions and in participation in the practical training of young skilled workers. In doing so they must be supported both in terms of content and structure.

The vocational training systems in the target countries can be supported in their entirety (vocational training institutions, companies, intermediary actors) by know-how from Germany, if this know-how is transferred in the form of adapted training services to jointly defined points in the existing vocational training systems. For example, existing job profiles can be sustainably upgraded through “greening” and modernization and become more attractive and effective for climate protection with technical know-how. At the same time, vocational orientation campaigns in the countries must support a development that brings vocational training as a future-oriented perspective back into the minds of young people. Gender-neutral motivation of young people also plays an important role with regard to technical occupations. The green commitment of young women and girls must be supported by campaigns that enable them to discover and develop their technical potential. Also for this there are solutions in Germany that can be used as a role model and they can be further developed within the education systems of other countries.

2.2. Additional educational services for “Young Experts” in green technical occupations

The second target group, which is strongly affected by unemployment in the southern European countries and can develop its potential for the “Green New Deal” through targeted support, are young experts who have already undergone technical training at academic or professional level and have not yet been able to implement their skills in local labour markets. They need to develop educational services that provide them with the latest technical knowledge in the field of sustainable construction and renewable energies. Especially new technological developments are creating many new job profiles that are necessary in an economy oriented towards sustainability and green solutions. Relating to international and European regulations, fields of employment arise in the field of sustainable construction and renewable energies that are not covered by classical job profiles. Especially in these new fields of employment, completely new competence profiles are necessary. For example with regard to a new relationship with potential customers and the task of establishing a sustainability culture at different levels of society. The changed organizational forms of modern qualified work also require potentials that have not been taken into account in traditional training programs yet. It is crucial to provide young experts with skills that will enable them to develop their employability on the one hand and promote new, creative and social entrepreneurship on the other. In this way, new creative solutions can be developed for a climate-friendly, sustainable society and employment prospects can be created in the target countries themselves.

2.3. Youth without work and vocational training

In the breakdown of youth unemployment, the high proportion of so-called NEETs in EU jargon is particularly worrying. This refers to young people who are neither in a registered job nor in training or a work-related training program. In 2017, 14.5% of Europeans between the ages of 15 and 34 were in this situation. The breakdown by country was 25.5% in Italy, 24.4% in Greece, 19.5% in Bulgaria, 18.9% in Croatia and 17.9% in Spain. For the age cohort of up to 25 year olds, the balance is even less favourable, especially in Southern Europe:

  • Italy: 29,1%
  • Greece: 23%
  • Spain: 21,2%
  • Romania: 23,6%
  • Bulgaria and Cyprus: 22,7% each.

Even if precise statistics are not available, it must be assumed that a considerable proportion of these so-called NEETS only have little and often incomplete school education. In order to stop, or at least substantially reduce, socially unacceptable marginalization and exclusion, the proposed qualification offensive should be extended in a way that it fits this population group, too.

We therefore propose training courses in occupational sectors for which there are low-threshold training requirements. Here, a serious policy of climate protection and resilience to the ongoing climate crisis opens up an enormous need. The landscapes, especially in the southern European regions, are exposed to increased erosion, accumulating water crises and the danger of widespread desertification as a result of the intensifying climate crisis. Ruthlessly geared to product maximization, agriculture speeds up the threatened degradation of entire regions.

In addition to an ecological turnaround in agriculture, a wide variety of protection and safety measures in the landscape and in the water balance will therefore be necessary in the coming years – qualified work in large numbers is also required for this purpose, for which young people with little previous knowledge of school and work can be trained. Especially young people in rural areas could find a viable alternative to permanent local unemployment or the often aimless search for a job under precarious conditions in urban conurbations. Further fields of action include reforestation, the transformation of forests into more climate resilience and the renaturation of water bodies. In urban settlements, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events alone is leading to a much stronger commitment than before to greening settlements and rainwater management. After all, in the upcoming comprehensive energetic refurbishment of buildings, qualified specialists and a large number of building craftsmen with basic training are in demand.

  1. Recommendation for action

On this basis, we recommend the planning and implementation of an action program “Youth for a sustainable future” within the framework of transnational cooperation, which should start with the following priority initial measures:

  1. Carrying out a comprehensive survey on modernization needs in the climate-protection relevant areas of vocational education and training, with the participation of vocational training institutions and business associations in the target countries;
  2. Pilot testing of measures for the modernization, dualization and exemplary greening of job profiles in the fields of climate protection, energy efficiency and sustainable construction in the target countries (e.g. Spain and Greece), with recourse to the research on the internationalization of vocational education and training;
  3. Pilot measures for needs assessment, modelling and implementation of further training concepts for fields of competence relevant to climate protection: Solar, Wind, Smart Home for the target group 25 – 29 years old.
  4. Modelling of measures for the support of soft skills (empowerment, self-management, communication) for the promotion of start-ups in markets relevant to climate protection for the target group 15 – 29 years old.
  5. Modelling measures to promote the employability of young experts in order to prepare them for the demands of modern labour markets and to improve their work design capacities.
  6. Measures for career choice orientation to reduce the shortage of skilled workers in ‘green tech’ occupations (target group: 15-24 years old)
  7. Bringing together the results of the development of a framework program ‘Youth for a sustainable future’ of the European Union.


Dr. Hartwig Berger, Dr. Rüdiger Klatt, Silke Steinberg

Empirical background of the article are relevant activities of the authors, present and past years:


  • „Mas trabajo con menos energía“, ein dreimonatiger Ausbildungskurs von arbeitslosen Jugendlichen zu kommunalen Energieberater*innen in einer Kleinstadt der Provinz Cádiz, 2014; neben privaten Spenden finanziert durch die Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Brüssel [1].
  • How to Reduce Youth Unemployment by Fighting Climate Change.  A Study in Greece and Southern Spain”. Eine Machbarkeitsstudie dder Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft(HTW) Berlin, der Universität Cádiz(UCA), der NGO Wind of Renewals(WoR) in Athen und des Sekretariats für Zukunftsforschung Berlin (SFZ), 2018. Finanziert von der Europäischen Klimainitiative (EUKI) des Ministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit in Deutschland.[2]
  • “Young Energy Experts working for climate-friendly Schools (YESclima)“,

Projekt von UCA, WoR, SfZ und der Energieagentur der Provinz Cádiz, 2018-2020. Finanziert von der Europäischen Klimainitiative (EUKI) des Ministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit in Deutschland [3].


  • For the activities of the FIAP see and especially the current projects GRÆDUCATION and Youth Impact (see below). As a research institute, FIAP has been carrying out evaluations and analyses of labour market policy measures for years and is involved in various projects on the topic of innovative technologies for climate protection. Since the beginning of 2019, the Institute has been operating a Virtual Reality Laboratory in which ideas for VR applications in the field of education for sustainability are developed and implemented.
  • A particular focus of the Institute’s research work is on international cooperation in the field of vocational education and training. In various projects in and outside Europe, educational and advisory services have been developed with the aim of modernizing vocational training systems in target countries, in order to make them an effective instrument in the fight against unemployment and to improve the economic situation in the target countries. Both scientific and transfer-oriented publications have been produced.[4]
  • GRÆDUCATION project:

GRÆDUCATION, a project funded by the BMBF, is being developed in cooperation with the Greek Employment Agency (OAED) and the Institute for Education Policy (IEP) in order to modernize the Greek vocational training system, especially in the field of sustainable technologies. Furthermore, educational services for interdisciplinary skills are developed. Together with the cooperation partners and Greek secondary schools, an approach for vocational orientation with regard to “green skills” has been designed and implemented to motivate young people for vocational training and to sensitise them to sustainable technologies.

  • Project Youth Impact:

The Youth Impact project is funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Unemployment. Together with Czech, Polish and Slovakian partners, tools and services are being developed to strengthen the self-evaluation capacities of youth unemployment agencies (NGOs, public and private institutions) and to support them in optimizing the implementation of their measures. A further goal is the establishment of a transnational research network on the topic of impact evaluation in the field of unemployment.

– FIAP supports the project “Young Energy Experts working for climate-friendly Schools (YESclima)” with an empowerment approach in relation to the topics “Employability” and “Entrepreneurship”.




[4] GRÆDUCATION – Innovation and sustainability management in a community-based, European VET culture. Vol. 1/2019 Publication Series for Participative Innovation and Transfer ISBN 978-3-00-062709-5 (available for download at

Steinberg, Silke (2016): Transculturation as potential in open innovation processes

In: Steinberg, Silke; Kutschke, Thomas; Fuchs-Frohnhofen, Paul; Ciesinger, Kurt (Ed.) (2016): Cooperative development of geriatric care training for China. A model for the export of education. Berlin: LIT




How to Reduce Youth Unemployment by Fighting Climate Change A Study in Greece and Southern Spain  

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The study ZEWKlima_Final Report_HTW Berlin Jan 2019  is a result of the project “Zukunftschancen Energiewende und Klimaschutz – With new energy against youth unemployment” (ZEWKlima), realised in Winter 2017/18 by the following organisations:

  • Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin
  • Universidad de Cádiz, Spain
  • The Greek social cooperative “Wind of Renewal”, Athens
  • Sekretariat für Zukunftsforschung, Berlin

It was financed by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project-financing instrument by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

See more:

ZEW-Klima: With new energy against youth unemployment

ZEWKlima: με την ανανεώσιμη ενέργεια εναντίον της ανεργίας των νέων

Θέλεις να συμμετάσχεις στην έρευνα: ZEWKlima-Με την ανανεώσιμη ενέργεια εναντίον της ανεργίας των νέων;

Η ενεργειακή μετάβαση ως ευκαιρία για δημιουργία νέων θέσεων εργασίας για νέους

Εκδήλωση – συζήτηση με φορείς και νέους: η ανανεώσιμη ενέργεια εναντίον της ανεργίας των νέων

Εκδήλωση συζήτηση: «Με την ανανεώσιμη ενέργεια εναντίον της ανεργίας των νέων»

Χιλιάδες νέες θέσεις εργασίας στην εξοικονόμηση ενέργειας και στις ΑΠΕ, αλλά χρειάζεται εκπαίδευση

Social Economy Europe: The future of the EU policies for the Social Economy: towards a European Action Plan

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Social Economy Europe produced recently a document on “The future of the EU policies for the Social Economy: towards a European ActionPlan“. This document defines a series of axes and actions that may serve as a basis for elaborating a European Action Plan for the social economy. The proposals included in this document take into account the very important work that has been carried out by all EU institutions and particularly by the European Commission in recent years to support the development of the social economy. Furthermore, these proposals are the result of a consultation process in which all Social Economy Europe members have actively participated.

What Social Economy can bring to the European Union

The Council of the European Union defined the social economy as a key driver of economic and social development in Europe. According to the European Economic and Social Committee’ study on the Recent evolutions of the Social Economy in the European Union there are 2.8 million social economy enterprises and organisations in the European Union, that employ 13.6 million people and represent 8% of the EU’s GDP. Therefore, the social economy is a crucial part of the EU socio-economic landscape. The social economy refers to a wide diversity of enterprises and organisations -cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, social enterprises, paritarian institutions of social protection etc.- that share common values and features such as the primacy of the individual and the social objective over capital, a democratic governance, and the reinvestment of most of the profits/ surpluses to carry out sustainable development objectives, services of interest to members or of general interest.

The social economy is formed by enterprises and organisations of all sizes -ranging from SMEs to large companies and groups- that operate in all the economic sectors such as: industry, education, healthcare and social services of general interest, agri-food, ethical and cooperative banking, insurance, renewable energy, re-use and recycling, retail and consumption; housing, tourism, culture and leisure, building, professional services, digital economy, etc. Because of its strong social commitment, the social economy offers innovative solutions to the main economic, social and environmental challenges of our time.

In short, the social economy is an enterprise model for the future of Europe that, thanks to its defining values and principles, contributes to several key objectives of the EU.

The social economy is “a European success story” that has increasingly gained political visibility as a sector that constitutes an important pillar notably in terms of employment and social cohesion across Europe and as key actor for the achievement of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting up the sustainable development goals. In this sense, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Economic and Social Committee, Member States, the Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship and social economy representative organisations have consistently called for the development of an ambitious European policy for the social economy with adequate resources proportionate to its socio-economic weight in the European Union.

In 2016, the European Commission adopted the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative containing a section on social economy and social enterprises. On that basis, the Commission has set up and implemented (in 2017 and 2018) a series of actions for the social economy and social enterprises, structured in five pillars:

1. Access to funding;

2. Access to markets;

3. Improving framework conditions;

4. Social innovation, technologies and new business models;

5. International dimension

However, the implementation of these important actions will come to an end in 2018. In this context, social economy representative organisations, led by Social Economy Europe; the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup, the European Economic and Social Committee and an important number of Member States are calling on the European Commission to take a step forward towards a European Action Plan for the social economy. This Action Plan shall serve to boost the visibility of social economy enterprises and organisations; support them to generate social and technological innovations; improve their access to finance and EU funding; remove the legal obstacles impeding their ability to grow and operate in the Single Market on an equal footing with other types of companies; as well as inspiring public authorities from the EU and its neighbouring countries to promote the growth of the social economy as a driver of economic and social progress for all.

Furthermore, this Action Plan should also serve to boost the uptake of new technologies in social economy enterprises and organisations. Digitalisation, blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence, among other emerging technologies, represent an enormous opportunity for the growth of social economy companies and for the creation of social economy start-ups in Europe. By adapting to this technological revolution, social economy enterprises will bring their values of solidarity, democracy and sustainability to the new economy.

A European Action Plan for the social economy, with a proposed duration of 5 years (2020-2025), shall be a key tool to systematically incorporate the social economy into the different socio-economic policies of the European Union, as well as into its actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The objectives of this proposal for an Action Plan are the following:

Objective 1 Recognise the social economy as a transversal actor in the main socioeconomic policies of the European Union: Social economy enterprises and organisations operate in all the economic sectors and represent an important part of the European economic and corporate landscape (more than 10% of all EU business), demonstrating that the diversity of enterprise models enhances the competitiveness of our economies. Therefore, the social economy should be taken into account by the European institutions, Member States and all public authorities in the design of their socio-economic policies.

Objective 2 Promote the convergence and coordination of the different public authorities involved in the promotion of the social economy by defining strategic objectives and benchmarks at EU level: Various administrations at local, regional, national and EU level are directly involved in the regulation and promotion of the social economy. Therefore, it would be important to set-up a European policy framework for the social economy to enhance the coherence, complementarity and coordination of the different policies and regulations, remaining respectful of the principle of subsidiarity.

Objective 3 Foster a conducive ecosystem for the growth of the social economy in Europe, improving its contribution to key EU objectives and allowing social economy enterprises to take full advantage of the single market and of EU funds and financial instruments: The social economy has been one of the drivers of European integration, offering innovative solutions to address evolving socio-economic challenges. The EU institutions should initiate appropriate actions to foster the development of the social economy and to unlock all its potential for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth at the service of European citizens.

In line with these three objectives, this policy proposal includes 20 policy measures and 64 actions structured in 7 pillars:

1. Establish a common understanding of social economy enterprises and organisations in Europe

2. Improve the visibility of social economy enterprises and organisations and of their values and characteristics

3. Measure and further document the weight of the social economy and its effective contribution to the socio-economic development of the European Union

4. Provide in the framework of the European Single Market a conducive ecosystem for the growth of social economy enterprises and organisations, supporting them to access to finance and scale up, and by establishing the necessary legal framework, allowing them to fully operate trans-nationally in the Single Market.

5. Further integrate the social economy in EU funds and programmes, such as the ERDF, ESF Plus and the cohesion funds

6. Foster the role of the social economy in the external action of the European Union

7. Consolidate and strengthen a permanent and structured dialogue between EU institutions and the Social Economy

About Social Economy Europe

Social Economy Europe (SEE) was created in November 2000 under the name of CEP-CMAF -the European Standing Conference of Cooperatives, Mutuals, Associations and Foundationswith the purpose of establishing a permanent dialogue between the social economy and the European Institutions. In 2008, CEP-CMAF changed its name and officially became the “Social Economy Europe”.

SEE members are the European organisations of mutual and cooperative insurers, non-profit healthcare players, health mutuals and health insurance funds; industrial and service cooperatives; foundations, associations of general interest, work integration social enterprises, paritarian institutions of social protection, ethical banks and financiers, and the European Cities and Regions for the social economy.

At national level, SEE represents the national social economy organisations of France (ESS-France), Italy (National Third Sector Forum), Portugal (CASES), Spain (CEPES) and Belgium (ConcertES). Social Economy Europe’s mission is to:

– Represent the interests of the social economy in the European Union so that the main EU policies promote and take into consideration this enterprise model;

– Promote the dialogue and the inter-cooperation between its members and develop new services of common interest;

– Boost the visibility of the economic and social impact of the social economy and of the values and principles that define this virtuous enterprise model;

– Support the Member States and the national organizations aiming to promote the development of the social economy.

SEE believes in a European Union that is determined to promote economic and social progress of its Member States, and that acknowledges its key role as global social economy leader. SEE believes in:

– A diverse economy at the service of people.

– A democratic, sustainable and inclusive economy, strongly committed to society;

– A more favourable ecosystem for the development of the European social economy, that will keep offering innovative solutions in response to societal demands.

– The social economy’s active participation in the development and implementation of the main socio-economic policies of the European Union.

Energy poverty in Greece; Social innovation proposals to tackle the phenomenon

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We would like to inform you of the publication of the study “Energy poverty in Greece; Social innovation proposals to tackle the phenomenon” which was concluded by the Heinrich Βöll Foundation Greece in collaboration with ΙΝΖΕΒ – Institute of Zero Energy Buildings and the social cooperative Wind of Renewal.

In this study, the factors comprising the multi-faceted problem of energy poverty are being introduced as well as its social, economic and environmental consequences. Policies and good examples for dealing with the phenomenon from various European countries are being presented. Also, we are putting forward a series of proposals to tackle the problem in Greece. More specifically, these proposals demonstrate the need for a holistic approach of green, social innovation that, in conjunction with the adequate documentation of the phenomenon, can provide viable solutions, with respect to the current circumstances of Greece. The proposals focus in four main areas: changes in policy, information and education, increase of the energy efficiency of buildings and the use of renewable energy sources.

You may find the executive summary of the study on energy poverty in pdf format, which is available in English here. The whole study is also available in Greek here.

Social enterprises and the social economy going forward

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Social enterprises and the social economy going forward

A call for action from the Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES)

This report of the Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES) represents a call for action issued to the European Commission, Member States and social enterprises organisations. It argues for a European Action Plan for the Social Economy and Social Enterprises, which would provide new impetus to promote an enabling environment for social enterprises and the social economy to flourish, building on their core values such as democratic governance, social impact, innovation, profit reinvestment or the central place given to the human in the economy. Thus enabled, social enterprises and the social economy will have an even greater impact in addressing the challenges highlighted above and help to create a more socially equitable society in Europe. In accordance with the mandate given to GECES, the recommendations mainly focus on social enterprises. However in many cases, recommendations are relevant to social economy organisations more broadly. The report proposes a series of key recommendations for policy-makers to support the development of social enterprises and the social economy as a driver of inclusive and impactful economic growth. The report is structured according to four key thematic areas.


Towards increased visibility, recognition and identity

Recommendation 1:  The European Commission, the Member States and social enterprise organisations shall gather stronger evidence on social enterprises’ added value and communicate it better. Actions should encompass:

  • Collecting systematic data and prioritising research on the economic and social importance, including the employment potential, as well as the dynamics of social enterprises (Member States, Commission);
  • Co-creating an EU-wide communication strategy (Commission together with the Member States and social enterprise organisations);
  • Sharing of know-how and tools on social added value, including tools on social impact management (Commission, the Member States, social enterprise organisations);
  • Building better capacity to report on the social value generated (social enterprise organisations).

Recommendation 2: The European Commission, the Member States, regional and local authorities, and social enterprise organisations should nurture a more assertive and coordinated social enterprise community. Actions should encompass:

  • Forging legitimate, diverse and inclusive representative networks that enable synergies, mutual learning and coordination (social enterprise organisations);
  • Supporting the representation of the social enterprise community at the EU level (Commission together with social enterprise organisations and the Member States);
  • Promoting a culture of policy co-creation with social enterprises and their representative organisations (Member States).

Recommendation 3: The European Commission and Member States, as well as their local and regional authorities, should mainstream the social enterprise dimension in relevant policies, programmes and practices. They should consult with and engage social enterprises as much as possible in the creation of new policies and actions. Social enterprise organisations should actively promote and use these opportunities. Actions should encompass:

  • Including social enterprises as eligible entities in all relevant European funding programmes and adding social enterprise dimensions in the implementation and follow up of EU-wide policy initiatives (European Commission);
  • Promoting the participation of social enterprises in relevant European mobility schemes (European Commission);
  • Promoting mutual learning and capacity building between regional/local authorities so as to develop integrated strategies supporting social enterprises (European Commission and Member States);
  • Applying social criteria to public procurement processes (European Commission);
  • Including social enterprise related topics in curricula from primary to university level and promoting career opportunities in social enterprises by public employment services and career guidance services (Member States and local and regional authorities);
  • Promoting mutual knowledge sharing and business relations between traditional business and social enterprises (European Commission, Member States, social enterprises).

Improving access to funding

Recommendation 4: The European Commission and Member States should provide increased resources to training programmes, incubators and intermediaries that provide tailored capacity building support to social enterprises, required to build their managerial skills and to encourage their financial sustainability. Actions should encompass:

  • Strengthening European-wide support for networks/platforms that connect individuals (including consultants and pro-bono experts) with social enterprises needing capacity building, and awards schemes for social enterprises (Commission);
  • Setting up a pan-European investment and capacity building funding programme to help social enterprises reach investment readiness by financing capacity building support from selected service providers (Commission);
  • Financing specialised social enterprise incubators/accelerators and intermediaries that offer training and capacity building to social enterprises (Member States);
  • Using ESIF to fund capacity building activities at MS level (Member States).

Recommendation 5: The European Commission, the Member States and organisations from the social enterprise funding community should implement concrete measures to unlock and attract more funding that is better suited to social enterprises. Actions should encompass:

  • Promotion, training, guidance and awareness building among the broader funding community (private and public) about how to finance social enterprises (organisations from the social enterprise funding community to collect best practices and Commission to disseminate);
  • Building capacity within the “impact community” that understands and actively finances social enterprises, to enable social economy-based financial intermediaries to meet the needs of social enterprises;
  • Enhancing the suitability criteria of investment in social enterprise, thereby increasing the flow of funds into social enterprise (Commission and Member States);
  • Removing or alleviating regulatory hurdles faced by private funders of social enterprise and social enterprises themselves (Commission);
  • Mapping existing, diverse tax incentives associated with the funding of social enterprise, to disseminate best practice (Commission and Member States).

Recommendation 6: The European Commission and the Member States should continue to direct public funding to social enterprise and to use public funding to mobilise private capital, through investment in and de-risking of social enterprise funders, as well as by putting proper governance structures in place. Actions should encompass:

  • Enabling public financial instruments (e.g. EaSI, EFSI, InnovFin under Horizon 2020, COSME and other instruments under development) to enhance funding volumes and raise the quality of social enterprise funding (Commission) and to invest in social enterprise and specialised intermediaries (Member States);
  • Programming the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to improve service provision and investment in high-quality social infrastructure. ESIF should have a transformative role and should be used to complement – not replace – Member States’ national budgets (Commission and Member States);
  • Recommend to Member States to promote social investment namely through public funding in a coordinated, holistic manner in the areas of social, health and education services;
  • Developing complementarities between public and private funding of social enterprise through the use of hybrid instruments (Commission and Member States);
  • Representing key stakeholders from the social enterprise ecosystem in the governance of schemes supported by public funding, such as EFSI, and mainstreaming the use of impact measurement (Commission).

Improving the legal environment

Recommendation 7: The Commission should propose a soft legal measure which could help Member States design an adequate framework to support the flourishing and expansion of social enterprises. Actions should encompass:

  • Preparing a legal recommendation, in the sense of the Treaties, that lays down minimum principles to encourage and support Member States in establishing a dedicated national framework to develop social enterprises (Commission);
  • Monitoring social enterprise policies in the Commission’s exercise on the European Semester, in order to follow the implementation of the above legal recommendation (Commission).

Recommendation 8: The Commission and the Member States should stimulate cross-border operations for mutuals and cooperatives to enable them to use the full potential of the Internal Market in order to expand their activities. Actions should encompass:

  • Financially supporting cross-border operations via programmes such as INTERREG (Commission);
  • Collecting best practices regarding incentives to stimulate their growth in the Internal Market and widely diffusing them (Commission and Member States).

Recommendation 9: Public buyers should make the best use of the new public procurement rules and insert social considerations, including reserved contracts for the social and professional integration of disabled and disadvantaged persons (art. 20) as well as health, social and cultural services (art.77), in their tendering procedures. Actions should include:

  • Updating the Commission’s “Buying Social” guide published in 2011 and monitoring best practices (Commission);
  • Developing dedicated capacity building programmes and communication campaigns (Commission and Member States);
  • Conducting/developing specific training for European civil servants, to take social aspects into consideration when drafting tendering specifications (Commission);
  • Creating networks to stimulate the commitment of various stakeholders in this process (Member States, contracting authorities, social enterprise organisations).

Recommendation 10: The Commission and the Member States should increase awareness of state aid rules and their impact on social enterprises providing an SGEI. Actions should encompass:

  • Preparing or, where appropriate, updating guidelines, especially the guide to the application of EU rules regarding services of general economic interest from 2013 (Commission and Member States);
  • Launching further training on how to apply state aid rules (Commission and Member States).

Driving international development and growth

Recommendation 11: The European Commission/EEAS should contribute, through the next cycle of its international development programmes, to a significant and ongoing increase in open source intelligence about the social economy and social enterprises, and support ecosystems globally. Actions should encompass:

  • Launching a major ongoing research initiative together with other interested donors and partners such as the OECD and its Development Assistance Committee members, the UNRISD, the World Bank, EU national development agencies and other public and private donors;
  • Allocating a specific budget for impact evaluation for new support programmes for the social economy and social enterprises to bridge the lack of robust and clear evidence about the impact of this enterprise support on SDGs. This action should also be taken by Member States.

Recommendation 12: The European Commission should take a leading role in fostering global cooperation to support the social economy and social enterprises by acting as a market convener and harnessing knowledge exchange. Actions should encompass:

  • Undertaking in 2017 a process of internal learning, coordination and cooperation between the various departments of the Commission and EEAS, whose work touches on the 10 development of infrastructure and support for the social economy and social enterprises;
  • Starting in 2017, initiating a series of regular exchange and action-oriented meetings with other global donors and investors (private and public) active on a transnational basis in supporting the social economy and social enterprises (irrespective of local designation);
  • Making the case, together with the German Government, which holds the G20 Presidency from Autumn 2016, for promoting specific policies to support inclusive businesses/activities and social enterprises (as discussed in the G20 Inclusive Business Framework) to better reflect the differences in the set of values, principles and raison d’être between these organisations.

Recommendation 13: The European Union and the EEAS should mainstream tailored support in all its existing and future policies and initiatives and international negotiations promoting social and economic development (cooperation and development, foreign policy, trade policy, neighbourhood policy etc.) and embed social enterprises and the social economy more broadly in strategic thinking in order to build supportive ecosystems as reflected by the pillars of the SBI. Actions should encompass:

  • Earmarking, in the next programming cycle, dedicated direct and indirect funding for social economy organisations, including social enterprises, in third countries, along with governments and support and social finance organisations; and starting concrete collaborations with other global partners to leverage EU funding and boost the impact of the respective programmes;
  • Raising awareness, in particular with third country governments, of the role the social economy and social enterprises play in achieving the SDGs, as well as on the potential of North-South, South-North or South-South exchange of learning, innovation and collaboration, providing cases of successful replication of innovative social economy and social enterprise solutions and models as well as their impact;
  • Embedding the social economy and social enterprises in Europe’s revised Consensus on Development and in Europe’s voice in international negotiations, trade agreements and at the United Nations;
  • Organising marketplace events to connect social enterprises with the international financial ecosystem and facilitate major investments in developing countries, as well as engage other social economy organisations in defining financial instruments to meet their needs

“WELCOMMON” Labour Integration of refugees in Greece: a Cooperative Hostel to Spread Solidarity

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“Welcommon” stands for “Welcome in common”. This is the name that four well-established organisations, the social cooperative Wind of Renewal, the Greek Forum of Refugees, the Greek Forum of Migrants and ANASA Cultural Centre, have chosen for a project seeking to offer much more than emergency accommodation. Social inclusion, empowerment and refugee integration are key aims of the initiative.

María Ruiz Nievas

The main objective is to provide quality housing for up to 120-150 asylum seekers for six-month periods or longer. “The personnel of the Hostel will be both migrants/refugees and Greek nationals. That means that through hosting we try to create job opportunities,” explains Nikos Chrysogelos, President of Wind of Renewal and one of the founders of the project. Refugees will also be put in contact with local initiatives looking for workers as technicians, nurses or doctors, artists and social entrepreneurs.

Refugees will receive food, clothing and health care to cover their basic needs, as well as information and various training opportunities, such as language instruction, to develop their abilities and skills.

Active participation of asylum seekers

Although Greek citizens have expressed solidarity to refugees and there are a lot of initiatives to provide food, clothes and first aid equipment, there is a lack of organized policy and good practices for social inclusion, empowerment and integration for those refugees willing to stay in Greece or who at least want to stay longer.

“We are starting by providing housing in apartments, but there is no experience of integrating and developing the entrepreneurship of refugees and migrants in Greece, especially in a cooperative way,” claims Nikos Chrysogelos.


Last December, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras committed to housing 50,000 refugees by the end of 2016 and this year Greece has already received 61,746 people who arrived by sea, according to UNHCR. “Welcommon” could not be happening at a better time.

“We would like to be operational by June,” said Chrysogelos, who recognizes that the project’s success is dependent upon funding. Foundations in Greece, private donors and a crowd funding campaign are the most immediate options. “We have already developed good cooperation with the Municipality of Athens and we hope to do the same with the regional authorities in Attica. We are looking for a (closed) hotel or clinic (there are some in Athens, because of the crisis), which would also be suitable for hosting activities related to social entrepreneurship.”

Chrysogelos does not close the door, however, on support from the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), but admits that “it takes time and it is something for the future”.

If you want to know more about our project or you would like to support it, please contact:

The four organisations:

Published by European Confederation CECOP – CICOPA Europe here