Euclid Network calls for your views, experiences and suggestions, and invites you to join us in our advocacy work for social enterprise and for the Balkan region.
As a recognised and active player in the Balkan region, Euclid Network has this year been working hard to promote the interests of social entrepreneurs and civil society practitioners on the ground. Recently, this has taken the form of some important advocacy work, challenging those responsible for the European Enlargement strategy on its absence of social innovation and social enterprise.
New law is in the process of being approved by the Serbian Parliament, which will make it even harder for social enterprises to start up and to flourish in Serbia, as brought to our attention by our members in Serbia who highlighted how this affects work in practical terms. As part of our commitment to support and offer a stronger voice for our members, we have sent a letter to Commissioner Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, to draw attention to these concerns. You can read the letter here.
Social entrepreneurs fear that the law would lead to state monopoly in the field. Giving preference to state-founded and state-owned social enterprises, it would ensure their better position in the marketplace and further damage private initiatives and entrepreneurship by its definition, as well as undermining individual endeavours.
Do you work in this field, in the Balkans or elsewhere? What are your experiences? Have recent policy developments opened up opportunities for you, or do you struggle with a lack of institutional support? Send us your thoughts and ideas to help us put together a case and lobby for policy that works for YOU.
This omission of social innovation, social enterprise, and social investment for the Western Balkans and Turkey exemplifies how, at institutional level, their rise in significance has been largely ignored. These crucial principles represent a new trend which combines business strengths (efficiency and effectiveness) with civil society values (sustainability and social cohesion). This is developing across Europe and beyond and is beginning to transform all sectors (public, private and third sectors) as well as their respective relationships. Yet this has been inadequately reflected by policy, not least in the Balkan region – where these concepts are starting to develop and where the formalised support is needed most.
We would be pleased to see Brussels apply here its achievements in the field of fostering an enabling environment for social enterprise through the Social Business Initiative, which our members helped to shape. An important part of Euclid Network's work in recent years has concerned social business and social innovation and, more specifically, underlining the role that they must play in both the EU’s external and enlargement policies (for example in a letter we sent to Catherine Ashton last year).
Moving forward, Euclid Network would like to do more to support practitioners and to try to improve understanding about the diversity of social enterprises and the potential growth for the economy.
If you would like to join us in our advocacy work, or if you have any comments or questions, please contact Ivelina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we can form a connected and engaged network with the power to catalyse real change, leveraged using Euclid Network’s established foundations in the region.