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From public ownership back to commons. Lessons learnt from the Romanian experience in the forest sector

Ancuța Vameșu, Cristina Barna & Irina Opincaru 2018


Credit Unions in Romania – a strong social enterprise model to combat financial exclusion and over indebtedness Cristina BARNA & Ancuţa VAMESU CIRIEC Working Paper N° 2015/11

Credit unions are social economy entities that have an important contribution to preventing financial and social exclusion in Romania. Historically, we can speak about credit unions in Romania from XVIII century until present. These social economy entities have been a considerable support during all these times for persons with low income in Romania, being credible institutions in the communist period, and also after 1990 Revolution, facing successfully all turbulent economic transformations and global challenges, adapting and developing themselves continuously until present, when they begin to embrace microfinance and adopt the European Code of good-practice in micro-finance. They have the potential to become a successful social economy model, very instrumental in providing affordable loans and safe saving and also contributing to local development through support for entrepreneurship and job creation.
Our paper has as objective to describe and analyze the specificity of Romanian credit union model, that could be seen in the same time as a social innovation, with a big multiplier effect in economy and society, generating inclusive growth and development; an overview of the dynamics of the sector, considering the most recent available statistical data. The paper will include the preliminary research results of the project “ICAR – inclusion by micro-credit and mutual help – sustainable strategy of social economy for employment and creation of social enterprises”, regarding the general context of access to financial services in Romania, financial exclusion and over-indebtedness.
Key-words: credit union, financial exclusion, social exclusion, social economy, mutual financial help, micro-credit.

Financial inclusion through social economy

Coord.: Cristina Barna, Ancuţa Vameşu. – Bucharest, Wolters Kluwer, 2015 ISBN 978-606-677-015-6

Published in December 2015 under the guidance of Dr. Cristina Barna and Ancuta Vamesu, with the contribution of Irina Sinziana Opincaru, Dr Paul A Jones (Faculty of Education, Health and Community, John Moores University, Liverpool) and Stelian Minoiu (National Union of Credit Unions in Romania), the volume is a handbook that addresses the issue of financial inclusion and the role of social economy organizations in its realization.

The work Financial Inclusion through the Social Economy addresses the general public (researchers, the academic environment, the NGO environment, financial institutions and their representatives, the decision-makers and also the simple man seeking solutions to over-indebtedness, financial exclusion and the vicious circle of poverty) and the need for an inclusive financial system where financial services providers in the social economy can play a decisive role.

Reviving Social Economy in Romania – between emerging social enterprises in all sectors, surviving communist coops, and subsidiaries of globalization actors

Cristina BARNA & Ancuţa VAMESU, CIRIEC Working Paper N° 2014/07

Social economy could be considered a response to the current eco-socio-economic crisis, in fact the first crisis of the globalization era. Developing social economy could mean sustainable, largely non-exportable jobs, social inclusion, improvement of local social services, and territorial cohesion. Maybe the tensions between “global” and “local” show a new wave of globalization system whose pre-condition is a sustainable territorial development. Romania in particular has faced a fast-paced transition from a closed society and economy to a country acting in a global market, including an
open, global labor market. This meant dramatic changes in property regime and work, employment conditions, a context in which solutions from the top did no longer work and generated a framework for new organizational and entrepreneurial forms of social economy to play a role. Can institutions of the social economy create the path towards territorial, locally-based development in Romania? Could these territories become anchors in the context of the structural changes we live, for a real “globalization with human face”? We face a paradigm shift in a changing Europe, we have to unlock the potential of social enterprises – the emerging types, but also the past surviving coops.Research objectives: 1. Analysis of the conceptual framework: social economy, social entrepreneurship and the emergence of social enterprise in Romania. Mapping key segments of social economy in Romania: Story of lost values – surviving communist coops, future cooperative movement in Romania. 3. Case study of a pilot rural territory where a comprehensive social economy startup project has been developed Horezu Romania Idealis project. What would be the role of social economy in a territorial development in Horezu? Value-chain analysis.

From public ownership back to public property – lessons from the Romanian forestry experience

This paper of the members of the Lab – Ancuta VAMEŞU, Cristina BARNA, Irina OPINCARU was published in the first series of the CIRIEC Studies, as an analysis of the forest and pasture commons in Romania, named “obsti” or “composesorates” as solidarity and social economy organizations. The paper takes into account the processes of: developing collective norms in these new organizations (re-established historical organizations after 50 years of state ownership), sustainable management of natural resources in the collective management of those natural goods and the production of new goods and services of community interest. The chapter has four parts: the first part giving readers a conceptual framework of common goods to better understand the particular situation of natural resources (forests and pastures) in Romania as common goods and their passage from public property during the communist regime to public administration; the second part is a brief history of the commons in Romania covering developments from 1948 to 2012 including estimates of the size of the areas they manage; the third part analyses the Romanian commons as social economy organizations using key socio-economic indicators from the Prometeus research project and the last part assesses the propensity of the commons to a public, community mission and sustainable forestry management based on the results of some surveys carried out in the same project .

The paper can be downloaded from this link:…/…/2018/03/CSS1CHAP3.pdf
The volume can pe read here:…/providing-public-goods-and-c…/

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