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Unveiling the European Elections: Insights from Chloé Gallien, Head of European Affairs at Groupe SOS

6 June 2024 • NEWS

The European Parliament elections will take place from 6 to 9 June in Europe. Groupe SOS is taking a stance and speaking out in favour of a Europe of solidarity, justice and environmental sustainability.   

For several years, the European Union proved to be a major defender of the continent’s social and solidarity enterprises. Groupe SOS has greatly benefited from EU support and has been resolutely involved in European initiatives and projects that contribute to the development of social economy. By participating in more than 50 European projects in collaboration with more than 100 European organisations with varied profiles (companies, associations, universities, training centers, etc.) based in over 20 European countries. In addition to its conduct of European projects, Groupe SOS promotes its interests and activities to influential social economy networks and European institutions. The aim is to contribute to greater visibility and recognition of Groupe SOS’ field expertise in multiple sectors of activity at European level.  

The European elections are only a few days away. Have you taken any initiatives to raise awareness among your employees and beneficiaries about the importance of this democratic moment? 

Of course! The entire Groupe SOS’ Europe Department was mobilised for the European elections. We launched the ‘Toutes et tous aux urnes pour l’Europe/Everyone to the polls for Europe’ project, which aims to enable vulnerable people supported by Groupe SOS associations to exercise their right to vote, whether they have a disability, are economically disadvantaged or have lost their autonomy. This project is part of an effort to combat factors of civic exclusion, by ensuring that every individual can participate actively in democratic life. It is important to remember that these awareness-raising initiatives have been carried out in a non-partisan way to inform people about how the European Union works and its concrete role in their daily lives, in order to strengthen their understanding and commitment as citizens. 

What is Groupe SOS position on the European elections? 

Groupe SOS hopes that during the next European mandate there will be no decline in social and solidarity policies, as well as in the protection of fundamental rights and respect for the rule of law in Europe. 

The European elections can have a significant impact on these rights and principle. It is therefore essential to vote to ensure that these fundamental values continue to guide decisions taken at European level. Groupe SOS, perceives these elections as an opportunity to promote the social and solidarity economy as an alternative: a different, fairer economic model that integrates ecological transition, social progress and democratic renewal. 

What are the benefits for Groupe SOS and its associations of taking part in European projects and working with stakeholders in Europe? 

We are convinced that the EU is a fantastic opportunity to improve and exchange with our European counterparts. Groupe SOS Europe Department supports its organisations in developing European projects and obtaining related funding. This enables teams working in the fields to learn new skills and know-how, as well as sharing their expertise across borders. Transnational collaborations also encourage the creation of solid networks, building long-term links between partners and thus enabling an enriching exchange of ideas and practices. 

In short, European cooperation is a source of professional enrichment and progress for our employees, by offering opportunities for expansion, learning and sharing that cannot be achieved in a purely national context. 

What are you doing to ensure that the impact of Groupe SOS activities is recognised by European institutions and networks? 

Groupe SOS is actively involved with European institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. We also work in collaboration with influential European networks, such as Euclid Network and the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), as well as with various stakeholders in the social economy across Europe. 

To promote our initiatives, we regularly share Groupe SOS’ field projects and innovative solutions developed by our teams. These exchanges serve as a source of inspiration for other organisations and contribute to the development of more inclusive and effective European policies. By showcasing our projects, we aim to demonstrate the positive and tangible impact of our actions, encourage the adoption of best practice and influence policy makers to incorporate these approaches into their strategies and legislation. 

In this way, our commitment at European level is not just limited to the recognition of our work, but also extends to an ongoing effort to promote social change on a large scale, by inspiring and collaborating with other European players for greater collective impact. 

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