The European Parliament debates on a European Action Plan for the Social Economy

On Thursday 5 October 2017, the plenary of the European Parliament, held in Strasbourg, debated with the Commission -represented by Commissioner Věra Jourová- on strengthening EU policies promoting the growth of the social economy. This debate was requested by 39 MEPS, from 5 political groups, that co-signed a parliamentary question on A European Action Plan for the Social Economy.

Jens Nilsson MEP (S&D,SE), precursor of the parliamentary question, recalled in his intervention that over the last years the Council, through its Conclusions on Social Economy, the European Parliament, through several reports; Member States, through 3 intergovernmental declarations, Luxembourg, Bratislava and Madrid; the EESC, the Committee of the Regions and the Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES), have consistently requested more ambitious EU policies for the social economy, such as a European Action Plan. He emphasised that this strong support is due to social economy’s proven contribution to sustainable growth for all, high-quality jobs creation, social inclusion and to a more democratic economy based on the reinvestment of most of the profits.

Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, stressed “we want to see the social economy succeed as it offers innovative answers to societal challenges, and replies to the growing demand of citizens and consumers for a new way of doing business responsibly and sustainably”. Jourová recognised that “there is untapped potential and barriers which hamper the development of the sector in many countries”. Therefore, she explained that the Commission decided last year -under the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative- to launch new concrete actions to stimulate the development of the social economy. Commissioner Jourová announced that good progress has been made but there are still a number of measures that need to be implemented in 2018. In this regard, she stressed that launching a European Action Plan for the Social Economy would be premature: “we want to deliver what we have promised and, then, let us see if more needs to be done”. To conclude, Commissioner Jourová stressed: “we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the voice of the social economy is heard across the whole Europe”.

MEPs Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL, FR), Izaskun Bilbao (ALDE, ES), Anne Sander (EPP, FR), Jozo Radoš (ALDE, HR), Ivan Jakovčić (ALDE, HR), Seán Kelly (EPP, IE), Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, LV) and Danuta Jazłowiecka (EPP, PL), took also the floor to call on the Commission to move forward towards an ambitious European Action Plan for the Social Economy. Furthermore, Marie-Christine Vergiat emphasised that the social economy is formed by enterprises and organisations of different sizes, from SMEs to large companies, that operate in all economic sectors.

Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of Social Economy Europe, commented: “I would like to thank Jens Nilsson and the 38 MEPs that had the initiative to request this very timely parliamentary debate on social economy. I would also like to thank Commissioner Jourová for her clarity and unequivocal support to the further development of the social economy. Social Economy Europe supports the request of moving forward towards a more ambitious Action Plan for the Social Economy, building on the ongoing Commission actions and strategy for the social economy”.

For more information, please find here the video of the debate.


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