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European Capital of Social Economy? Portugal has five of these

European Capital of Social Economy? Portugal has five of these

In a true spirit of solidarity, the title was divided among 5 municipalities

This year, Portugal is not only presiding the Council of the European Union, but it is also taking the leading role in the Monitoring Committee of the Luxembourg Declaration. For the non-initiated, this means that a city from its territory gets the honour to be declared the European Capital of Social Economy.

In a true display of solidarity showmanship, which would be exactly in the spirit of what social economy stands for, the prestigious status was shared among 5 cities – Sintra, Braga, Cascais, Coimbra and Torres Vedras, all of which signed a Letter of Commitment to the initiative on 29 March at the Queluz National Palace in the municipality of Sintra.

The social economy sector is the one that fills the gaps between the public and private initiatives

The social economy sector in society is sometimes known as the third sector, or in other words, this is where private initiative and entrepreneurship aim to complement and add value to areas which the public sector has neglected or has not been able to cover. The goal of the sector is to do that without a profit-generating motive. This is the realm of non-profit organizations, associations, foundations, professional collectives and volunteers.

In Sintra, the social economy sector stands out thanks to the number and diversity of organizations, with 1,207 entities, representing 2% of the national total distributed across different segments, such as culture, social services, religious organizations, education, health and environmental protection,” stated Basílio Horta, the mayor of the symbolic host city of Sintra.

This municipality, for instance, has developed specific financing programmes, such as Financial Support for Non-Profit Institutions (PAFI), as well as emergency funds aimed to provide a much-needed shoulder to this sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Social Economy Capitals take it upon themselves to promote the ambitions and visions of the Luxembourg Declaration (which counts with 18 signatory countries) for smarter, sustainable and inclusive development, social cohesion, full employment, better governance and eradication of poverty.

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