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Sarah de Heusch, new director of Social Economy Europe

Sarah de Heusch, a Belgian-Canadian citizen who grew up in Italy, has been appointed as the new director of Social Economy Europe (SEE), the representative platform of the European social economy, replacing Víctor Meseguer, the new commissioner for Social Economy of the Spanish Government. According to SEE, Sarah de Heusch is an activist for a fairer world, “with an insatiable curiosity for collective-based initiatives that strengthen social achievements and local dynamism”.

Her first job was as assistant to the Secretary General of UNICA, the network of Universities of major European capitals, where she learned all about managing such a network. For the last 14 years she has worked for Smart, a structure that started in Belgium as a non-profit organisation supporting artists, and is now open to freelancers from all sectors of activity in seven EU countries.

Smart led her to discover the world of co-operatives, a movement in which she has been very active in recent years, first with the platform co-operative movement, and then chairing working groups such as CECOP’s working group on “Atypical employment, platform workers and co-operatives”.

Sarah de Heusch has also served on the board of ‘La Coop des Communs‘, an organisation with which she has notably developed a dialogue between cooperatives, trade unions and cities.

The improvement of democratic practices in the workplace is a specific line in which de Heusch has been very active in recent years; she has contributed to the development of Smart’s participatory working groups and, above all, to the creation and chairing of the cooperative’s ethics committee.

Social Economy more necessary than ever

Following her appointment, Sarah de Heusch said: “It is with great enthusiasm that I take on the position of SEE Director, because I believe that the world needs an economy that puts people and the environment before profit. The EU, the UN and the ILO have recognised the added value of the social economy in promoting a fairer economy, sustainable development and decent work. Our role is to make sure that the right policies are put in place so that this type of economy can flourish”.

Sarah de Heusch thanked SEE President Juan Antonio Pedreño and Vice-Presidents Patrizia Bussi, Alain Coheur and Jérôme Saddier for entrusting her with the leadership of the network. “As Director of SEE I look forward to continuing the work that the team and members of the network have led so far, to keep the social economy high on the EU agenda, to grow the network and to make it a key player in the digital and green transitions”.

With the upcoming European elections in 2024, SEE has a unique opportunity to keep the momentum of the social economy on both national and EU agendas.

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CIRIEC-International CIRIEC-España Social Economy Europe Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social Unión Europea