Social Economy picture
  • Rural Pact
  • Rural Revitalisation Platform
  • European Union created on English
    European Union created on English
    • 59 Members

    • 16 Discussions


    Third places, social enterprises, village associations, community cooperatives or community foundations, work integration enterprises – these are just some examples showing the great potential of citizen empowerment and social economy-based community initiatives when it comes to revitalising rural areas. Activities range from the development of enterprises and creation of employment, the promotion of sustainable agriculture and food over mobility (incl. the development of digital platform cooperatives), new solutions regarding the generation of and access to energy or to healthcare, to access to education and services, social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, creation of solidarity networks and others. A key factor of success for many of these initiatives is cooperation and partnership with local and regional authorities, including the co-design of policy measures and their joint implementation.

    Yet, in many European regions, much of these possibilities still remain untapped. Reasons for this are multifold:

    • A lack of awareness on the side of public authorities regarding the potential of the social economy also and especially in the field of rural development.
    • Missing legal or policy frameworks at different level which would encourage social economy development in rural areas and a fruitful cooperation between the social economy and local/regional authorities;
    • A lack of knowledge, know-how, methodologies and tools – on the side of public authorities – regarding participatory approaches and co-design of development strategies with the social economy and civil society in particular in rural areas (still an obstacle also in general for example in Cohesion Policy and for the take-up of place-based investment approaches);
    • A lack of knowledge and know-how on the side of citizens and civil society in rural areas regarding social economy solutions to concrete local challenges.
    • Difficulties, on the side of social economy actors in rural areas, to find access to tailor-made services and support (e.g. advice, finance… - which are still too often developed in or tailor-made for rather urban contexts, if at all);
    • Difficulties, on the side of the social economy, to find possibilities for peer exchange and exchange of technical know-how and tools.
    • A lack of awareness on the side of “new” citizen initiatives in rural areas following social economy values of their “being social economy”; 


    Objectives of the Community Group

    • exchange around good and bad practices related to topics that will be jointly defined by the members of the group (Peer-learning and Capacity-building)
    • exchange around or jointly construct tools and guidelines enabling (local) policy-makers, social economy and civil society to work together on promoting social economy-based solutions for rural development
    • promote wider dissemination of the above mentioned know-ledge and tools
    • exchange on untapped potential and obstacles regarding the legal and policy framework at different level and formulate recommendations to policy-makers regarding possible adaptations and in general to mobilise policy-makers;
    • stimulate cooperation and the development of joint initiatives/projects between members of the group and beyond
    • give stronger visibility for social and solidarity economy initiatives in rural areas and their partnerships with local/regional authorities.


    Group coordinators