How To Change the International Rules for the Commons in Europe? - 2013

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Side-Event to the „Economics of the Commons Conference – From Seed Form to Core Paradigm” (ECC), for further information on ECC see: Overview_of_the_Economics_of_the_Commons_Conference


In Europe, the services developed in a commons based approach, in most cases, are ignored by institutions, or are considered as exceptions in the context of the internal market, mostly governed by economic logic. Regulation of the commons and of commoning by the rules of the internal market tends to their enclosure. Economic rights exert dominance over other rights and lead to alienation of the beneficiaries of these services.

However, much of the social, health, environmental and cultural services are carried out by organizations that claim for the commons. These organizations integrate missions of public services in their actions and are motivated by the general interest. They are mixing market and nonmarket logics. They engage the active participation of the people concerned and are sources of social innovations.

So, in Europe, the notion of general interest should be revisited. New rules of the European institutions, more favorable to the commons and commoning, are required. The introduction of new approaches must go through the redefinition of subsidiarity mechanisms between local, national and European level, and the recognition of collective rights of the civil society self organised as well as local and national governments, the recognition of the complementarity between creditworthy and non-creditworthy services. We need standards of managements compatible with these alternative approaches, and decline them in accounting tools.

The elaboration of the rules for the regulation of SI(E)G and SSGI is opening spaces for a redefinion of the notions of public good and commons and general interest within the European institutions. This redefinition will not happen without taking in account the lessons of the last 20 years of struggles for the recognition of social and cultural rights (European Charter of Social Rights, 94, 2004, ...) and rethinking of the arguments and strategies of European civil society. Initiatives to recognize the commons are numerous in Europe: European Charter for commons, the recognition of water as commons at the local (Naples, Paris, Berlin, ...), national (Italy), and European level (European Citizens Initiative, ICE), Agenda positive public domain, access to land (UK), inclusion in the law of neutrality of the Internet (Netherland), framework laws for ESS (Spain, France) ... Others are planned such as common chamber. They are challenging citizens and institutions.

The workshop aims to bring together people involved in these initiatives, to discuss possible links, build and renew our arguments and our agendas.

Date and Venue

Date: 22nd May 2013 - 13:00-16:00

Venue: Heinrich Böll Foundation (to be confirmed)


Contacts : Nicole Alix (nalix at, Frédéric Sultan (fsultan at, Michel Bauwens.

Partners asked :

  • Philippe Aigrain
  • Saki Bailey
  • David Bollier
  • Silke Helfrich
  • Stefano Rodota,
  • Pablo Sanchez Centellas,


Working Language: English

Participants: ca. 25/30

Event format: Discussion


Identify initiatives reclaiming commons and facilitate convergences :

  • Rethink SIEG rights, Nicole Alix Confrontations Europe
  • Positive agenda for the public domain, Philippe Aigrain, La quadrature du net, Mélanie Dulong, Primavera De Filipi, Communia
  • Evolution in the context of European and Italian Rights, Stéfano Rodota
  • Carta of the commons, Saki Baley
  • European Civil Initiative, Pablo Sanchez Centellas (EPSU)
  • Post Rio+20 and 2015 agenda -OMD objectives), Vaia Tuuhia
  • Commons Law Project, David Bollier
  • ... To be completed


List of confirmed participants :

  • Aigrain Philippe, La quadrature du net positive agenda
  • Alix Nicole, Confrontations Europe
  • Bailey Saki, Charte européenne des communs
  • Ball Sophie,PhD commons grassroots activism UK
  • Bauwens Michel, P2P Foundation
  • Boual Jean-Claude, CELSIG (comité européen de liaison pour les services d'intéret général)
  • De.Filipi Primavera, Communia
  • Dulong Mélanie, Communia
  • Fuster Mayo,Fellow Berkman Center for Internet and Society Harvard University
  • Kalinowski Wojtek, Veblen Institute
  • Kennedy Margrit
  • Krausz Nicolas, FPH
  • Krikorian Gaelle, EELV
  • Lapniewska Zofia, Postdoctoral Research Fellow ZtG Humboldt-Universität Berlin,X,X
  • Papanikolaou George
  • Peugeot Valérie,VECAM
  • Sultan Frédéric, VECAM Remix The Commons
  • Tuschen Stefan
  • van der Wekken Ruby