MedTOWN in Spain organised a debate on coproduction of social policies in the context of European Funds

Photo: Anna Elías

On Tuesday 7th November, MedTOWN project hosted in Seville, Andalusia, the first Spanish round table to promote the debate on "Co-production of social policies: promoting social innovation and the solidarity economy in the context of the EU European Funds".

The first Spanish round table, held from 5 pm at Palacio de los Marqueses de la Algaba thanks to Seville City Council, was a free-flowing meeting between speakers and participants. Speakers had the opportunity to exchange ideas with a diverse audience of practitioners and stakeholders, contributing to the collective knowledge and understanding of social innovation and the social and solidarity economy (SSE), their impact on Mediterranean countries and the importance of considering all these issues when deciding on the specific use of European funds.

The aim was to create a debate from different perspectives, such as NGOs, academia, trade unions and business. Speakers at the debate were Rafael Gómez Gordillo, Professor of labour and social security Law at the Pablo de Olavide University; Nuria López Marín, General Secretary of Comisiones Obreras Andalucía (CCOO); Lola Sanjuán Jurado, CKL Comunicaciones S. Coop. And. Director; and José María Ruibérriz, Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACPP) Focal point for social innovation & SSE.

From their initial approaches, the speakers and participants were encouraged to reflect in order to generate a broader and more nuanced debate and to draw conclusions within the framework of the MedTOWN project and with a view to future initiatives.

MedTOWN Spanish round table in Seville on 7th November 2023
MedTOWN Spanish round table. Seville, 7th November 2023

Different points of view on the social and solidarity economy were highlighted. José Ruibérriz, Assembly for Cooperation for Peace (ACPP) focal point for social innovation & SSE, explained the genesis of MedTOWN project, focusing on co-production and improvement of public services and experimenting with social innovation and social and solidarity economy. Rafael Gómez Gordillo spotlighted the lack of SSE in universities, from curricula to research, and the need for changes in university structures to achieve greater knowledge and dissemination of SSE.

Lola Sanjuán began the debate by introducing the relevance that the social and solidarity economy has acquired with the recent approval of the UN resolution on the promotion of the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development, by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In addition, she mentioned the European roadmap drawn up by the European Commission, which would entail a specific budget within the European Funds.

José Ruibérriz underlined the importance of the SSE in employment generation and the holistic approach of MedTOWN project, aligned with feminism, environmentalism and the trade union movement. Furthermore, he considered the public-private partnership as an amplifier of the results of European funds. Finally, he highlighted the need for global influence and the importance of reviewing development cooperation policy in Andalusia.

Nuria López, General Secretary of Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) in Andalusia, the largest trade union in Spain, advocated for the participation of workers on company boards as long as the conditions of transparency and knowledge of the companies exist.  She noted the importance of the social solidarity economy as a model that has a balanced and non-predatory approach to resources, redistributes wealth and helps to generate more companies based on democratic values and respect to workers’ rights.

The interventions highlighted the resistance of the academic and business system to change, the relevance of the Social Economy in the redistribution of wealth, and the need for social dialogue to implement effective changes. Challenges to achieve European convergence were pointed out and, in relation to the use of European funds in Andalusia, a call was made to incorporate the social economy and social innovation into the territorial roadmap.

MedTOWN speakers at Spanish round table in Seville on 7th November 2023
Rafael Gómez Gordillo (UPO), Nuria López Marín (CCOO-A), Lola Sanjuán, CKL Coop & José M. Ruibérriz (ACPP social innovation & SSE)

The first Spanish round table was part of the Social Innovation Week in Seville, which hosted a range of closing events after four year of implementation of MedTOWN, European project co-financed by ENI CBC Med Programme.

MedTOWN project has focused on the co-production of social policies with social economy actors to combat poverty, inequality and social exclusion. It took place in six countries: Spain, Greece, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and Portugal.

More info on MedTOWN project, here 

More info on the event, here

Programme, here

Press release on Spanish round table, here

Press release on Social Innovation Week in Seville, here