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The Toledo Declaration: Another Positive Step for Social Enterprise



Today, at a high-level meeting on the social and solidarity economy in the EU, Ireland became one of a number of EU states to sign the "Toledo Declaration on Social Enterprise".

The meeting, which took place in Toledo, Spain, was organised by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, and was attended by representatives from a number of EU states, as well as by Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD and Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation.


The Declaration is a recognition and a commitment to strengthening the decisive role that Social Enterprises can play as the EU emerges from the health, economic, and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Upon signing the Declaration, Minister for Rural Development, Heather Humphries, said

"Today, I am announcing Ireland's signature of the Toledo Declaration which is a further articulation of Ireland's firm commitment to Social Enterprise. My message is simple, I want Ireland to become a European leader in the area of social enterprise. To achieve this, national and international partnerships like this are crucial".


What does the Toledo Declaration entail?


The Toledo Declaration includes seven commitments and calls on other EU member states and international institutions and organisations to;


  1. Raise the visibility and recognition of the Social and Solidarity Economy through public policies, plans and specific actions in collaboration with the people and entities that comprise it

  2. Promote the economic, social and environmental development model of the Social and Solidarity Economy.

  3. Support the generation of ecosystems favourable to the Social and Solidarity Economy

  4. Seek to ensure the necessary financial support is in place for the consolidation of a viable and sustainable Social and Solidarity Economy.

  5. Recognise the critical role of the Social and Solidarity Economy as a crucial driver in shaping a sustainable, inclusive and just post-COVID 19 recovery throughout Europe

  6. Contribute to the international expansion of the Social and Solidarity Economy

  7. Generate and maintain high-level cooperation and dialogue mechanisms to coordinate actions supporting the Social and Solidarity Economy, promoting social innovation and innovative public policy.


Why is this important to us?


Signing this declaration is a further endorsement by the Irish Government of the importance of the social enterprise sector - this is welcomed and critical for the success of the social enterprise sector. SERI looks forward to working with DRCD to deliver on the commitments in the declaration - success comes from Government and the sector working in tandem.


The commitments call out the recognition and awareness that is much needed. In addition, the support to the ecosystem and financial assistance to ensure a viable and sustainable sector is highlighted. This all serves to strengthen the sector and create an environment whereby starting, operating and scaling a social enterprise is encouraged and supported more than ever before. These are all central to what SERI's membership wants and needs.


The acknowledgement by the Minister of the ambition of Ireland to be a leader in social enterprise is shared by SERI. We have a rich history of social enterprise and with the appropriate policies, supports and recognition this can be achieved.

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