Social financing as a driver for sustainable local development in EU Mediterranean countries. Spain, Portugal, and Greece in perspective.
In the post-crisis EU landscape, EU Mediterranean countries are making steps in alleviating the burdens that citizens have carried at the individual and collective level by restructuring their economies and re-designing social protection measures. Social and solidarity economy (SSE) is also a sector that has also seen several impediments in its development, most notably regulatory and financial obstacles and uneven development of the sector despite its growth and positive impact towards vulnerable groups during the crisis among the EU countries. In this new landscape, endogenous local development and the sustainability of the sector relies not only on active social networks and generation of social capital but also on stable and recurring funding sources, as it is necessary to respond to the financial needs of social economy actors and operators, so as to sustain the emerging dynamic of SSE in the EU. This article's scope is to provide evidence-based on a literature review regarding the development of the field both in practice and in scientific discourse with a special focus at the EU Mediterranean countries of Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among the findings is that Spain and Portugal have been mobilized and adapted faster in including and developing social investment and innovation strategies and consequently the development of supporting frameworks for their social economy sectors, contrary to Greece where despite the move towards advancing its legal framework, there is still lack of sufficient social financing instruments, as well as, little use of the EU financing and supporting framework towards financing its social economy sector. The article addresses the pivotal role of social financing in supporting social economy organizations endeavors and presents an overview of the different forms of development of the social financing initiatives that are taking place in Spain, Portugal, and Greece.
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