Home 2018-06-26T13:46:55+00:00

EUROPEAN CONFERENCE

SOCIAL ECONOMY AS AN EFFECTIVE MODEL FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SOCIAL SERVICES, EMPLOYMENT

International Hotel, Golden Sands Resort, Varna, Bulgaria
14-15 JUNE 2018

 THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE PROVIDERS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (ЕАSPD) was delighted to organise and conduct a European conference which will take place in Bulgaria during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

 THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (NASO) was honoured to host this event put on the political agenda of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

We,

THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE PROVIDERS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES,

THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY,

and our partners,

THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL POLICY,

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE MUNICIPALITIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA,

VARNA MUNICIPALITY,

gave a warm

WELCOME

to the sea capital of Bulgaria,

VARNA

to all conference participants.

From 13 until 16 June 2018, nearly 400 participants from all European countries were working together on one of the most up-to-date and important topics having a strong social impact and significance for an effective social support and contribution to the social development of Europe and the European countries.

In parallel with their work within the conference, most of the participants were also able to enjoy the beauty and nature, food and drinks, the sun and the sea, and hospitability of Bulgaria.

BULGARIA AND VARNA WILL BE EXPECTING YOU AGAIN

 

Background

The social services sector currently employs over 10 million staff with over 1.7 million new jobs created in Europe between 2008 and 2015. With an ageing population and changing family patterns, it is expected that the sector will continue growing over the next few decades. For the sector to respond positively to this trend and to continue providing high quality social services, it is essential that any framework on social services covers the following issues:

  • Ensuring adequate, continuous and sustainable funding of the sector, guaranteeing the provision of high quality individualised social services for all and enabling social innovation;
  • Improving the attractiveness of the sector for workers by improving salaries, working conditions and career paths;
  • Managing the transition to community-based services in line with the rapidly evolving role of public authorities, societal changes and individual needs;
  • Embedding technological developments as key elements supporting innovation in the sector.

 

Social economy

Social economy includes cooperatives, mutual societies, non-profit associations, foundations and social enterprises. They perform a very broad number of commercial activities, provide a wide range of products and services across the European single market and generate millions of jobs. Social enterprises are also the engine for social innovation.

Social enterprises

Social enterprises combine societal goals with entrepreneurial spirit. According to the social business initiative of the European Commission, the social enterprise is defined as “an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than to make a profit for its owners or shareholders. It operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative way and it uses its profits primarily to achieve social objectives. It is managed in an open and responsible manner and, in particular, its management involves employees, consumers and stakeholders affected by its commercial activities”.

The “operation form” of the definition above includes the following criteria:

  • The organisation must engage in an economic activity: this means that it must engage in a continuous activity of production and/or exchange of goods and/or services;
  • It must pursue an explicit and primary social aim: a social aim is one that benefits society;
  • It must have limits on the distribution of profits and/or assets: the purpose of such limits is to prioritise the social aim over the profit-making;
  • It must be independent, i.e. it must have an organisational autonomy from the state and other traditional for-profit organisations; and
  • It must have an inclusive governance, i.e. it must be characterised by participatory and/or democratic decision-making processes.

 

During the conference we

  • presented and discussed the social economy concept and its effects on the quality of life of people with disabilities and the social cohesion as well as the creation of a more sustainable and inclusive society via its underlying values, initiatives and actions;
  • showed illustrative case study examples of how organisations, regardless of whether they work directly in the disability field or not, could be examples of diversity and act as models for “disability mainstreaming”;
  • showed how social economy could contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN;
  • promoted a disability mainstreaming approach, in addition to disability specific initiatives, in society as a whole and in social economy enterprises and organisations in particular;
  • presented and discussed the EU strategy on social economy;
  • evaluated different concepts and their conditions for success;
  • presented and evaluated different frameworks (legal, financial and tax frameworks) related to the development of social economy.