Dear friends of the Social Economy,
I take this opportunity to wish you a happy, healthy and positive New Year on behalf of Social Economy Europe, its Board of Directors and its team.
There is no doubt that 2021 will be an important year to build our collective future at the global-level, the EU-level and also for the social economy community. This is the year of vaccines, the year to #BuildBackBetter with a new EU Budget 2021-2027 and a European Recovery Plan – the #NextGenerationEU- that the EU and its Member States will start deploying. The year in which the European Commission will deliver its Action Plan for the Social Economy in the fourth quarter of the year to enhance social investment, support social economy actors and social enterprises to start-up, scale-up, innovate and create jobs, according to the Commission Work Programme 2021.
The European Action Plan for the Social Economy is part of the Commission’s Fair Economy Package that also includes an Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights that will be launched in the first four months of this year. Precesily, restoring social convergence and cohesion, including by promoting social economy entrepreneurship, is among the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council that promises to deliver a fair, green and digital recovery. With this e-mail I intend to share with you some of the milestones and events that will shape our work and guide our collective efforts in 2021:
- New EU Budget and the Recovery and Resilience Plans: The new EU budget opens new opportunities to support innovative social economy projects, it is the case within the InvestEU prorgramme -for which a provisional agreement was reached in December- that has the social economy finance and microfinance among the investment priorities of its Social Investment and Skills Policy Window, also allowing social economy enterprises and organisation to receive inbvestments under the other policy windows. Furthermore, the regulation opens the door to involve experts on social economy finance in the implementation of this programme through the InvestEU Investment Committe. Likewise, the new Single Market Programme (succesor of COSME) includes a positive definition of the social economy and has among its objectives to promote a favourable business environment for SMEs, support digital transformation and promote new business opportunities for SMEs, including for social economy enterprises and those with innovative business models. In the meantime, a final agreement on other essential EU programmes for the Social Economy as the ESF Plus and the ERDF has not been reached yet. Regarding Recovery and Resilience Plans, SEE is monitoring the work of Member States and supporting our members at EU and Member-State level.
- Social Economy Intergroup: the Social Economy Intergroup will play an important role in 2021 cooperating with social economy actors and the European Commission to co-design an effective European Action Plan for the Social Economy. The next online public hearing of the Intergroup on Skills and Digitalisation: Investing in the Social Economy as tomorrow’s economy, will take place on 18 February from 11:00 to 13:00. Please consult the agenda here and register here.
- The Portuguese Presidency of the Council and of the Group of Member States for the Social Economy (Monitoring Committee of Luxembourg Declaration) aims at organising a European Social Economy Conference on the 29 of March 2021, you can learn more on this here. The Porto Social Summit, that will take palce on 7 May, will be another important occasion for the social economy community.
- European Social Economy Summit 2021: The European Social Economy Summitt will take place as an online or hybrid event on 26 and 27 May 2021, organised by the European Commission and the City of Mannheim in cooperation with SEE, its members and a large number of social economy organisations, enterprises, research centres, universities etc. On this occasion, SEE intends to organise the first edition of the European Social Economy Awards.
There will be much more this year at EU and global level, but this is just a taste of the milestones that will guide our work alongside with a fundamental objective: co-designing an effective European Action Plan for the Social Economy. I take this opportunity to salute the inauguration of the new President of the United States Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, another sign of hope to #BuildBackBetter and fairer as a result of the COVID crisis. I also thank our member ESS-France that has lend us the image above. I would like to finish with the quote from French philosopher Henri Bergson that illustrated the original image.
Yours in cooperation,
Juan Antonio Pedreño. President of SEE.