Bringing the new economy to Brussels

I recognise that Brussels comes across to me as a grey city. Not just because of the climate, but I wouldn’t know how to explain it exactly. Maybe it’s due to the contrasts you can find exiting any of the train stations. Whether its Brussels North or Brussels Midi, you always find a mixture of suited-up people – possibly linked to all that comes from being the seat of the European Union (EU) – while, at the same time, you see a multitude of homeless people in whose gaze it is impossible to see even the slightest hope of a better life.

Selfie.Speakers en Bruselas presentando NESI.In any case, my last visit to the “grey city” was to present the NESI Global Forum of “New Economy, Society and Innovation” to the people who work in the European Union as well as to the many more who work in the innumerable Company lobbies, NGOs and other international organizations who have their main offices in Brussels. The presentation was developed with the collaboration of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) – an institution representing the European citizenship in the EU and who has already expressed a strong support for the NESI Forum – and whose objective was
to invite participants and institutions to support the participative process that NESI has initiated to co-create a more sustainable, just, collaborative economy focused on the people.

In order to allow our invitation to reach the EU and the different attendees to the event, I had the support of some of the people who will participate in the meeting that NESI has organised in Málaga from the 19th to 22nd of April this year. They did not know
each other. For that reason the first happy surprise of the day was a joint lunch with Tessa Wernink (co-founder of Fairphone), Marcos Eguiguren (CEO of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values), Albert Cañigueral (Ouishare), (Finance Watch) and Carlos Trías (EESC). We were a group of people who did not know each other with a strong common link; that we all work towards building an economy based on values. And, thanks to that common purpose, the magic appeared from the first instant. In just the hour and a half of lunch, the empathy and collaborative spirit gave way to the design of the first ideas and projects to develop in common. The magic was such that we were nearly late to the event looking, between laughs, for an appropriate corner in which to take a “selfie” with the Fairphone of the founder of the first company manufacturing smartphones based on fair trade principles.

The New Economy is real, it’s already here

Bruselas 16-Feb. Unión EuropeaBut the magic did not finish there. At the beginning of the event the more than two hundred attendees were able to listen to some of the EESC members who are leading supporters of the Economy for the Common Good, Collaborative Economy or Circular Economy and who are trying to take these models to the European Commission and Parliament. During the central part of the event, the real experiences shared by the ‘NESI Team’ allowed the attendees to see and understand that the New Economy is something serious and that there are more and more people and organizations transforming the economy in their day-to-day activities.

Marcos Eguiguren launched a clear message that “banking needs to serve the people and the institutions have the obligation to reform the model so that it may be that way”. Albert Cañigueral drowned the meeting room with real examples of value-based collaborative economy, disruptive examples which are transforming the actual concept of the word “work”. Tessa Wernink touched the audience with her humility and strength while transmitting “if, as two simple entrepreneurs, we have been able to create a high tech product based on fair trade principles which fights planned obsolescence, then all large companies can do the same “.

As for myself, I was able to enjoy explaining how the NESI Global Forum has been created bottom-up counting with the collaboration, to date, of more than fifty organizations from all over the planet. And I was able to launch my invitation and provocation to the European Institutions. “You can choose between living far from reality and betting on words like “growth” and “competitiveness” or you can join the people and organizations who are co-creating a new economy based on collaboration and who are placing the people and the planet ahead of mere economic indicators “.

After the event and over the following days I received numerous congratulations from both people who attended the presentation as well as from the many people who followed it on streaming. Emails, Facebook messages, whatsapp and even telephone calls (yes, there are still people who call by phone!) who transmitted that there are many of us hopeful about the change in economic model.

But the best message I received was as I was taking the return train from one of those dark Brussels train stations. A father and daughter, possibly refugees, were thrown in a corner of the station taking cover from the rain and the cold. Without realising it, I looked into their eyes, and I don’t know why, I smiled at them. They gave me two of the best smiles I have ever seen. The smiles of hope.
Diego Isabel La Moneda
Co-founder of the Global Hub for the Common Good and Director of the NESI Global Forum
youtube: canal “yosoytu”

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