The book Économie sociale et solidaire dans les pays des Balkans – Bulgarie, Roumanie, Serbie : quels enseignements ? , by EMES member Tsvetelina Marinova, shares the results of several years of research on the historical, contemporary and institutional aspects of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and finance in three Balkan countries: Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. The study shows that the development of the sector has been determined both by exogenous factors (EU processes, policies and funding) and by endogenous factors, such as the quality and effectiveness of institutions (limited redistributive capacities of the state and weak social protection systems, untapped capacity of civil society), as well as by past experience (path dependence).
The book discusses the main ideas, institutions and public policies during the transition period (after 1989) and after joining the EU (for Bulgaria and Romania, in 2007). Special attention is paid to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to the challenges and perspectives for these countries’ economies and the SSE sector. The Covid-19 crisis offers great opportunities for SSE organizations to reveal their potential, to support and strengthen governments’ actions to develop inclusive and sustainable economies.
Furthermore, the author is particularly interested in the birth and evolution of cooperative ideas in the Balkan countries (from the end of 19th and during the 20th century). The influence of different ideologies (liberalism, dirigisme, agrarianism, socialism), as well as the transfer and adoption of cooperative ideas from Western Europe and Russia, are analysed. Some original and radical cooperative ideas are presented—namely the ideas of agrarians. The author also studies the genesis of cooperative financial institutions in the Balkans, and their role in the formation and modernisation of the national economies during the capitalist (1878-1944), socialist (1945-1989) and post-socialist (after 1989) periods.
The study does not claim to be exhaustive, rather it provides starting points for future research, which is undoubtedly necessary.
Tsvetelina also took part in the ICSEM Project; she co-signed (with Elisabeth Yoneva) the chapter titled “Social Enterprises in Bulgaria: Historical and Institutional Perspective” in the ICSEM-COST book Social Enterprise in Central and Eastern Europe. Theory, Models and Practice.