Social Economy Europe has been supporting its members and the wider social economy community with actions to:
raise awareness about the role and needs of European social economy enterprises and organisations during the pandemic,
ensure the adequate support social economy enterprises and organisations need, and
to bring the social economy community together to learn from each other and build alliances to overcome the crisis, in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
SEE’s first action in response to the Covid-19 crisis was to write an open letter to EU leaders, ‘Overcoming COVID-19: Time for Solidarity – An unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented EU response to restore economic and social progress‘ highlighting the key role played by social economy actors in fighting the pandemic, which in April 2020 was at its height in Europe, and demanding that the social economy be included in the support measures at all levels – European, national, regional and local. SEE’s open letter was welcomed by:
- Charles Michel, EU Council President , who replied to it on 21 April,
- Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, who on 27 April addressed a letter to EU27 Ministers for Employment – in line with SEE’s Open letter,
- Vladis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the Commission for an Economy that Works for People, congratulating the social economy for its swift reaction to the pandemic, on behalf of Ursula von der Leyen, Commission President
SEE co-organised a high-level online public hearing with the European Parliament Social Economy Intergroup on 2 June ‘Co-designing the European Action Plan – a leverage for the economic and social recovery of Europe‘ which was attended by over 400 participants. A video of the event is available here.
During SEE’s Board of Directors held on 21 April, SEE modified its 2020 work plan to reflect the evolving reality brought by the Covid-19 crisis, agreeing on renewed priorities factoring in new emerging needs and collective solutions. SEE also invited Ulla Engelmann Head of Unit for Social Economy in the Commission to exchange on the reply to Covid-19, where she asked for SEE to provide data on the impact of the pandemic on the social economy.
Some week later, SEE launched a survey to assess the impact of Covid-19 on social economy enterprises and organisations across the EU. Please find the survey results here.
Other exchanges SEE held with the Commission include the GECES (European Expert Group on Social Economy and Social Enterprises) meeting, including an exchange of views with Nicolas Schmit on social economy in the context of the new Commission priorities and the response to the crisis.
SEE also supported the Commission’s series on social economy in the fight against Corona, by actively participating in many of the sessions, disseminating the initiative and helping to co-build a webinar on Sustainable Tourism as part of the series of online sessions.
SEE published a video #TogetherWeStand, a messege of solidarity from its members to the social economy and the wider community. We co-signed a White Paper ‘La clé d’un renouveau collectif et solidaire existe déjà‘ alongside our member ConcertES and many other EU and Belgian social economy actors. We also participated in numerous online events, often with a speaking role, for instance at the webinars organised by the European Alliance Against Coronavirus.
SEE has also welcomed three new members of strategic importance to its network, Eurodiaconia – an umbrella organisation of faith-based social services providers, the European Microfinance Network, and the European Social Protection Institute during its General Assembly on 2 June. Also during the GA, SEE published its 2019 Annual Report with important references to Covid-19.
In brief, these have been Social Economy Europe’s main actions in response to the Covid-19 crisis up until now. We will continue working on support social economy enterprises and organisations get through on the ongoing pandemic and recover post-Covid. SEE will keep bringing the voice of the 2.8 millions social economy enterprises and organisations to the EU institutions to co-build public policies in favour of the social economy, notably the Next Generation EU and the European Action Plan for the Social Economy planned for Autumn 2021.
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