& Events

Transforming procurement for social good: WeBuySocialEU kicks off training in Belgium and Lithuania

Jun 28, 2024 | News

In a move towards boosting socially responsible public procurement (or SRPP) across Europe, the WeBuySocialEU European Commission initiative launched its training series in late May, starting with Lithuania and Belgium (French speaking part). These innovative training events are set to empower contracting authorities and social economy entities across 12 EU Member States, equipping them with the tools to make procurement a force for social change. 

Key themes and outcomes of the WeBuySocialEU training events 

  • Foster interaction: the training events are designed to bridge the gap between contracting authorities and social economy entities, promoting mutual understanding and increased cooperation. 
  • Tailored content: each event is customised to address the specific needs of the country, ensuring relevance and impact for both audiences. 
  • Boost the implementation of the public procurement EU Directive: learners gain insights into how to use some lesser-known provisions of the Directive and SRPP instruments. 

On May 23rd, Vilnius hosted Lithuania’s WeBuySocialEU training, organised by Diesis Network, the Lithuanian Social Business Association (LISVA), and local legal experts on behalf of the European Commission. The event attracted around 80 participants, including a balanced mix of contracting authorities and social economy entities. Supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Lithuanian Public Procurement Office, the training was a notable success.

Given Lithuania’s relatively limited use of SRPP, the focus was on demonstrating the added value of SRPP and practical application. Key topics included the optimal timing for including social clauses in the procurement process and designing tendering procedures to be accessible to social economy entities. Participants appreciated the opportunity to share challenges and success stories, fostering a collaborative atmosphere. The event’s success has led to plans for a follow-up meeting in October to evaluate progress and shape a National Action Plan on SRPP. 

Belgium (French-speaking)

A day later, Brussels was the stage for the French-speaking part of Belgium’s WeBuySocialEU training, organised by AEIDL, on behalf of the European Commission. With 80 attendees, the event featured a blend of lectures, Q&A sessions, and interactive group activities. The programme was enriched by insights from legal experts, social economy professionals, and practitioners from the Walloon Social Economy Federation SAW-B. 

The event stood out for its focus on practical applications, exploring how SRPP can be integrated into various sectors like energy, circular economy, and city transport. Networking sessions allowed SEEs to showcase their contributions, while discussions on social clauses and recent case law provided valuable legal context. Recognised as one of the most mature countries with regards to SRPP in the EU, Belgium’s training underscored the country’s advanced practices and set a high bar for future sessions. 

Both events highlighted the enthusiasm and commitment of participants to drive SRPP forward. The high turnout and positive feedback signal a promising future for the practices in the EU, as contracting authorities and social economy actors collaborate to maximise their social impact through strategic procurement practices.  

Stay tuned for more about the training events in Estonia, Portugal and Dutch-speaking Belgium in our next edition of the WeBuySocialEU FlashNews!