On Thursday 12 November 2020, we launched #1 of the #DiesisPolicyLab series. The aim of such workshops is to bring two worlds closer together: policy-makers and social economy actors active at the grassroot level. Our 1st episode focused on the Western Balkans region and how in joint efforts, we can strengthen Social Economy (SE) ecosystem and make regional collaboration a reality. Diesis Members; the organisations supporting social enterprises in Serbia (KorSE), Montenegro (ADP-ZID), North Macedonia (Public), Albania (Partners Albania) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (CDP Globus) together with the representant of DG Near at European Commission led the conversation and discussed the state of play of Social Economy in the region, both in the light of Covid-19 and the EU-Western Balkans relations.

This was the 1st step to start the long-term dialogue between diverse SE ecosystems in Western Balkans and an attempt to connect those who work hard on the ground to contribute to its growth. Social Economy has found the new relevance in our times and will play the essential role in further socio-economic development in the region. There are already substantial efforts in the respective countries but one key element to the success is undoubtedly; regional cooperation. That can be achieved through the high- level agreements between leaders (Tuesday’s EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia) on the Green Agenda for the region or Common Regional Market; and in a very much practical way; to enhance networking between SE ecosystems and looking at the best way how we can transfer good practices cross-border and learn from each other’s strengths and failures.