Brussels, 9 December 2021.
Today Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Nicolas Schmit have presented the Social Economy Action Plan at a press conference in Brussels.
The Commission’s communication entitled “Building an economy that works for people: an action plan for the social economy” has a horizon of nine years for its implementation –2021-2030– and will be assed in 2025.
Social Economy Europe believes that the Social Economy Action Plan is an impressive EU public policy, co-created with social economy stakeholders, that offers a positive project for Europe. An initiative that has the potential to scale up the social economy in Europe, going beyond the traditional 6.3% of total employment in the EU that it currently represents.
The Social Economy Action Plan provides a clear and inclusive definition of the social economy in Europe:
“In the context of this action plan and related EU initiatives, the social economy covers entities sharing the following main common principles and features: the primacy of people as well as social and/or environmental purpose over profit, the reinvestment of most of the profits and surpluses to carry out activities in the interest of members/users (“collective interest”) or society at large (“general interest”) anddemocratic and/ or participatory governance.“
The definition specifically mentions the following social economy organisations: cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations (including charities), foundations, and social enterprises. Furthermore, the Commission’s staff working document accompanying the Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of the main social economy organisation forms, and explores the main areas of activity of social economy enterprises and organisations as healthcare, housing (strongly linked to the new European Bauhaus and the Renovation Wave), circular economy, insurance, renewable energies, social services, education, banking and finance, agriculture, forestry, industry, sports and leisure, etc.
The staff working document also makes an analysis of all the contributions and milestones that have led to this Social Economy Action Plan and points out relevant sources of EU funding to support the Social Economy in the 2021-2027 period.
The policy includes 38 concrete actions to be implemented in the coming nine years, in key areas as: state aid (exploring new possibilities for work integration social enterprises and other social economy enterprises of social utility), legal and policy frameworks, socially responsible public procurement and access to markets, promoting social economy at local, regional and international levels; business support, skills, youth entrepreneurship, access to funding and finance (InvestEU and othe relavant programmes); social economy contribution to the green and digital transitions, social innovation; recognition and more.
In line with the EU Industrial Strategy , the Commission also launched a Transition Pathway for the Proximity and Social Economy Industrial Ecosystem, that enacts a participatory process that will will result in “a finalised transition pathway during 2022, summarising the joint work and targeted engagement with stakeholders and mobilising stakeholders to present commitments and joint actions to boost resilience and accelerate the green and digital transition of this industrial ecosystem”. The Commission will mobilise different mechanisms to enable this process and facilitate stakeholder cooperation on the roll-out of the transition pathway.
SEE congratulates Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Schmit, Commissioner Breton, and the Commission’ services for this serious and positive initiative and is ready to contribute to its implementation in cooperation with our members and partners